The Australian government on October 22 promised to increase funding for fire ant eradication efforts across the country.
In a joint statement, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Murray Watt and Emergency Management and Finance Minister Jim Chalmers confirmed the federal government will invest an additional AUD268 million ($169 million USD) for the next national fire ant eradication program. 4 years.
Fire ants are native to South America and have now started appearing outside the region in many countries such as Australia, China and the United States, posing a significant threat to agricultural property as well as humans.
Fire ants were first discovered in the Australian state of Queensland in 2001, then first appeared in the city of Sydney in 2014.
Experts estimate that this pest has the potential to spread across 97% of Australian territory and cause economic losses of up to 1.25 billion AUD (equivalent to 789 million USD) each year.
The National Fire Ant Eradication Program was initiated by Australia in 2001. According to Minister Chalmers, without this program, fire ants would have invaded 100 million hectares of land from Queensland to Canberra.
“Fire ants are a threat to our communities, our economy and our children, and that’s why we are doing everything we can to eliminate these pests,” he said.
The additional funding will help Australia expand the scope of the National Fire Ant Eradication Program, increasing the project’s staff by 350 people, and significantly increasing the number as well as the scale of eradication programs. Area of monitoring and controlling the consequences caused by fire ants.