Joint media release: Combating yellow crazy ants in Queensland

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water
The Hon Meaghan Scanlon, Queensland Minister for the Environment 
Senator Nita Green, Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Senator for Queensland 

The Albanese Labor Government is ramping up the fight against the scourge of yellow crazy ants in Queensland with an investment of $24.8 million in this year’s Budget.

This funding will deliver on our election commitment to assist efforts to stop the spread of the ants across the Cairns and Townsville regions, including the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.  

This funding will reduce the damage Yellow Crazy Ants inflict on the local environment. Exotic invasive Yellow Crazy Ants are among the most serious global invasive pests. They kill native animals and leave a path of destruction in their wake.

Direct funding of $12 million will go to the Wet Tropics Management Authority, with the Queensland Government to match it and provide $12 million.  

The money will go towards the Wet Tropics Management Authority’s Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program. 

Some of the activities of the Program include: working with the sugarcane industry to reduce the risk of transporting yellow crazy ants between farms through machinery movement, using new technology for targeted surveillance to detect potential spread and other areas of infestation and conducting ant surveys using odour detection dogs.

This joint funding will limit invasion into the nearby Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. It will also stop the spread of yellow crazy ants across farms and the native environment. 

The Federal Government will also provide $12.8 million directly to the Queensland Government to deploy into the Townsville region – bringing the Federal Government’s total commitment to $24.8 million. 

The Albanese Labor Government has committed to addressing species decline and restore populations of endangered plants and animals, including through invasive pest control, through its $224.5 million Saving Native Species Program. 

Quotes attributable to Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek:

“Yellow crazy ants have the potential to quickly outnumber native species and invade their habitat, killing and displacing native species. 

“This funding will continue the work already being done in Cairns and lay a platform for practical activities to fight yellow crazy ants in Townsville.

“This includes working with the sugarcane industry to prevent transporting the ants between farms through machinery movement and running ant surveys using odour detection dogs. 

“Managing this pest will restore the tropical rainforests in North Queensland for species that inhabit the area, such as the southern cassowary, mahogany glider and northern bettong.

“The 2021 State of the Environment Report told us we are facing significant challenges, but I am committed to addressing species decline and restoring populations of endangered animals and plants.

“That’s why we have committed $224.5 million to boost protection for native species and combat invasive species – like Yellow Crazy Ants.” 

Quotes attributable to Queensland Minister for the Environment Meaghan Scanlon: 

“The Palaszczuk Government is investing $12 million to combat yellow crazy ants, and the Australian Government’s budget commitment will be a great boost to efforts on the ground in the Wet Tropics. 

“The Wet Tropics is a living museum and home to one of the most unique natural spaces on earth.

“It’s why the Palaszcuzk Government has already invested millions of dollars to restore habitats, work with First Nations communities and combat invasive species like yellow crazy ants. 

“Our commitment and the commitment by the Australian Government means there will be a total of $24 million to the Eradication Program.”

Quotes attributable to Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Senator Nita Green:

“The Wet Tropics Management Authority and the officers on the ground in Far North Queensland are world class in their management efforts against yellow crazy ants.

“We are so lucky to live in the Tropics among World Heritage rainforests and understand the potentially devastating impact of this pest on our environment and economy. 

“I am proud the Albanese Labor Government is stepping up when it comes to protecting our precious natural environment and delivering this important investment.”