STOP THE MARCH OF RED IMPORTED FIRE ANTS NOW SAYS MARSHALL

Tuesday, 28 November 2023

AN army of Red Imported Fire Ants is on the march toward the region, having crossed over the Queensland border into New South Wales and being detected in the northern rivers, and it must be stopped dead in its tracks, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said today.

Mr Marshall has pressed the Minister for Agriculture today, placing a question down on the Parliament’s notice paper, demanding urgent and immediate action, before the ants take a hold in the north of the State and begin marching south.

“I have asked the Minister what she has done so far following the discovery of Red Imported Fire Ants and what measures are in place to prevent the further spread in NSW,” Mr Marshall said.

“These ants can inflict very painful bites on people and livestock and cause extensive damage to ecological and agricultural systems.

“The Department of Primary Industries estimates that unless stopped and eradicated, fire ants will spread and cause more than $1 billion of damage and lost agricultural production.

This cannot be allowed as it would forever destroy productive agriculture in our region and send some farmers to the wall.

“This is the most serious biosecurity threat we have faced in many years and the government must take steps to ensure that cattle, the natural environment, and humans are adequately protected from harm and the pests are prevented from spreading further.”

Mr Marshall said his call for action came after Red Imported Fire Ant nests were discovered at Murwillumbah, 13 kilometres south of the border, late last week.

“The Minister must act swiftly and without delay to ensure the pests do not spread further and are kept well under control,” he said.

“The Minister now has 35 days to answer my question although I hope she answers it sooner.”

Mr Marshall’s question to the Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Regional NSW was:

In relation to the recent detection of Red Imported Fire Ants in New South Wales;

(1) When and how did you find out that Red Imported Fire Ants had been discovered in New South Wales?
(2) Following this discovery, what new measures have you now put in place to prevent the spread of these pests and eliminate them?
(3) To what extent will the measures in place successfully eliminate the ants?
(3) If you’re not successful in eliminating the ants and they spread across the State, what is the estimated damage and cost of agricultural production?
(4) What steps is the Government undertaking to ensure agriculture equipment, livestock and the natural environment is protected?
(5) What steps is the Government undertaking to ensure humans are protected?

Hon. Adam Marshall MP
Member for Northern Tablelands

28 November 2023.

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