It seems like treasurer Josh Frydenberg left an incredibly important part of the budget out of his speech this evening.
A surplus is cool and all, but what about dropping fat stacks on ant eradication?
That’s right, the Aussie government will be putting aside a cool $18.3 million to aid in the eradication of imported red fire ants. Not only are these little scamps buggering up newly defined areas, they have been known to cause anaphylactic reactions and deaths in the United States.
According to a 2016 report by the ABC the Red Fire Ants can have a massive impact on agriculture and that due to forming ‘super colonies’ can both compromise crops and kill small livestock.
A further $9.2 million will also be used to snuff out the Yellow Crazy Ant from the Queensland tropics. Yes, that really is its name.
Also known as the Anoplolepis gracilipes, this ant is actually in the top 100 list of the world’s most invasive species.
According to the Department of Primary Industry:
“Yellow crazy ants are highly invasive and can build super colonies and devastate local flora and fauna and impact on agricultural production and the horticultural industry. Yellow crazy ants, although not a direct threat to humans, are serious and classified as a prohibited matter event under the Biosecurity Act 2015 as they are a serious environmental pest which pose a risk to our economy, environment and communities.”
This bad boys do not mess about and are known to swarm. Despite only being first discovered in Cairns in 2001, they have now spread to the point where millions of dollars need to be dropped to get rids of them.
But they’re not done yet. A further $1.3 million will also go towards destroying an Argentine Ant that has been plaguing Norfolk Island.
While spending nearly $30 million on pest control might sound as crazy as those yellow ants, the potential cost to the Australian environment could be much greater if this biosecurity threat is left unchecked. That same 2016 report from the ABC stated that, “If not contained, the infestation would affect at least 20 sectors of the economy and cost the country $1.6 billion.”
And that was just one of the species.
RIP, you little bastards.