OUTRAGED: Landholders take fire ant battle into own hands
A LANDOWNER has been forced to treat three active fire ant nests on their property, after the agricultural department failed to return for treatment.
At Somerset Council meeting today, councillor Sean Choat was outraged fire ant officials didn't treat the active nests upon location or return to the property.
Cr Choat said on August 20, a resident in the southern section of the region found three active fire ant nests with the help of the agricultural department.
Cr Choat told councillors the landholder had been informed fire ant officials would return to treat the nests.
"The resident was advised that officers would be back to poison the nests," Cr Choat said.
Three weeks later, the landowner had no contact, and was forced to treat the nests himself.
"He decided to poison the nests himself rather than wait any longer, and he did so with great affect - there is no activity in the nests."
But Cr Choat said at another nearby property there was a greater infestation, and the landholder is still waiting for fire ant officials to treat active nests.
"They have had no contact, it's more than three weeks and they were initially advised there would be treatment ASAP via helicopter," Cr Choat said.
Cr Choat was furious active fire nests had been left unattended by department of agriculture officials.
"I'm raising this because I'm concerned about the apparent sluggish approach by the state at addressing this infestation and the other one I mentioned," Cr Choat said.
"I think Queenslanders, particularly those involved in agriculture in the Lockyer Valley and Brisbane Valley, should be very concerned and absolutely outraged at this approach.
"It's a disgrace. If fire ants become a permanent species in this country, it's a result of inaction by the Queensland government."
A Department of Agriculture spokesperson said there were a number of active fire ant sites within the Somerset, but without further detail, the program was unable to confirm treatment status.
"Some sites are used as science monitoring sites in consultation with property owners, to check the effectiveness of broad-scale eradication treatment," the spokesperson said.
"These sites are within the new eradication area and do not present a risk of spread outside the operational area.
"Treatment of these sites is on track in the Somerset area in the coming weeks in line with the commencement of treatment season"
The season will commence this month when the fire ants begin looking for food.