NFF calls on Australian governments to declare war on Red Imported Fire Ants

The National Farmers’ Federation is calling on the Federal, state and territory governments to urgently ramp up the war on an invasive species that could slash agricultural output by upwards of 40%.

The Senate Inquiry report into Red Imported Fire Ants (RIFA) in Australia urges (not want?) governments work together and commit to uninterrupted funding to escalate the fight to eradicate this destructive invasive species.

The NFF has long stated there needs to be urgent and comprehensive action to wipe out RIFA from Australia.

NFF President David Jochinke said farmers in New South Wales and Queensland had already seen the destructive pest escape containment zones, and action needs to be ramped up to stop them in their tracks.

“Action to eradicate this invasive species should have been completed decades ago,” Mr Jochinke said.

“Today we’ve learnt RIFA have spread to Oakey, dangerously close to the Murray Darling Basin. We cannot let this become a national problem, our governments must not stall for a second longer.

“RIFA are a significant national biodiversity threat to Australian agriculture, farming families, and human health.

“Should this nasty pest continue to spread across Australia, this will have detrimental impacts on farm productivity, production viability, and on-farm income.

“Recommendations for sustainable and sufficient funding are critical to maintain momentum, the stop-start process of awaiting decisions from treasuries needs to end.”

The NFF also supports recommendations for greater transparency and for the new five-year 2023-27 Response Plan be made public as soon as possible.

“While the Senate report recommends revising governance arrangements, the NFF believes the recently introduced model should be given the opportunity to work, but agrees with comments from AgForce that it is a significant oversight the governance group cannot find space for an industry seat at the table.”

The Report calls on the Federal Government to explore alternate models to strengthen the delivery of the eradication program. Mr Jochinke said while this will ensure red tape can be sidestepped in favour of real on-ground action, this does not go further enough.

“National eradication must underpin the focus and action in this fight.

“Governments need to step-up and contribute toward funding the national cost-sharing plan if disastrous impacts on agriculture, human health, and biodiversity are to be avoided. We have seen too many Governments hide behind budgetary processes, we need more action and less talk.

“Farmers are stewards of over half of Australia’s landscape, we work and understand the land best. Governments must work act hand-in-glove with farmers to ensure we stop wasting precious time and win this critical fight,” Mr Jochinke said.

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