Fire ants have now been detected at Oakey (Photo: NSW DPI)

April 19, 2024

Fire ants have been found at Oakey just a day after a Senate inquiry recommended a review of funding arrangements under the national eradication plan.

In January, Federal and State governments committed $592 million over four years to eradicate the pest.

National Party leader David Littleproud said the Oakey detection was extremely concerning, given the area was at the tip of the Murray-Darling Basin.

“Only yesterday I warned that the whole country has been put at risk of fire ants because Labor has been too slow to act,” Mr Littleproud said.

“The worrying thing about the Oakey detection is that if fire ants get up above the Great Dividing Range, it could potentially get into the Murray-Darling Basin and that could effectively see the fire ants go right down to Adelaide.

“It would impact the whole country and have devastating consequences.”

Fire ants were spotted in Kleinton, 30km east of Oakey, last year.

It has been estimated that fire ants could cost the Australian economy at least $2.5 billion a year by 2035, if not controlled.

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