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FIRE ANTS!

INFESTATION FEARS AS FIRE ANT NESTS FOUND ON STRADBROKE, MACLEAY! In Queensland reports more than 100 fire ant nests have been found on a large sand island off Brisbane, sparking fears World Heritage-listed K’gari could also be at risk without more cash to defeat the invaders. The Invasive Species Council has expressed alarm after a spate of new nests were detected on North Stradbroke Island since the start of the year, well beyond the mainland eradication and surveillance zone. Campaigner Reece Pianta says experts previously thought fire ants would struggle to survive in sandy soils like those on North Stradbroke and K’gari (also known as Fraser Island). But 100 new nest detections on North Stradbroke in the past three weeks has come as a shock. They add to about 30 others found since the start of the year and Mr Pianta now fears for the health of that island, half of which is protected as a nature refuge. “They’ve probably been there for at least a year,” he says. “Experts didn’t think fire ants could survive very well in that sandy soil but it shows how adaptable they are to new environments. It absolutely means that Fraser Island is at risk of fire ant invasion.” There’s also a recent nest detection on Macleay Island, which lies between Brisbane and North Stradbroke. It’s part of an island group that’s very close together, within flying range for queen fire ants looking to set up new colonies. “It’s a new front, a new challenge for fire ant eradication in Australia,” says Mr Pianta. He says existing funding to deal with the mainland threat is not even close to what’s needed, without counting the new threat to the islands. “There definitely needs to be a sweep (of the islands), and generally resources for fire ant eradication need to be increased, particularly around compliance, community education and surveillance.” Environmental campaigners have been urgently calling for more funding to eradicate the pest, which can can swarm and kill native wildlife, badly sting humans, and affect agricultural production. The invasive species is continuing to spread in southeast Queensland and is precariously close to NSW’s northern border, with one detection just 5.5km away. Fire ants can fly up to 5km. Recent nest detections include a dozen at Morayfield, north of Brisbane, where there are currently no eradication measures amid efforts to secure the next major injection of funding – a cost shared by federal, state and territory governments. “A giant game of chicken is going on between governments over funding eradication, but fire ants aren’t waiting for these political games to play out,” Mr Pianta says. “They are surging north, south and west from the containment zone, while the Albanese government dithers and delays. It will take at least three or four months for the eradication program to ramp up once funding is committed.” AAP is seeking comment from the federal, Queensland and NSW governments, the In Queensland report states. SENIORS MONTH A MONTH OF ACTIVITIES TO CELEBRATE SENIORS ON REDLANDS COAST Redlands Coast will celebrate its seniors in October with a packed program of citywide community events and activities. Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said Council was pleased to support Queensland Seniors Month by offering events at Council venues and supporting local organisations to hold their own activities. “Council values our senior residents and is committed to ensuring people of all ages are valued and can live active and fulfilling lives,” Cr Williams said. “We launched the Redlands Coast Age-Friendly Action Plan in 2021 specifically to support this valued cohort of residents. “The Seniors Month theme is ‘social connections’ and that’s what the Redlands Coast program of activities is all about – bringing our seniors together to help them develop connections and friendships. “These connections will have the added benefit of reducing loneliness and isolation in our community.” This year, Council allocated $8050 through its Seniors Month funding program to help six local community organisations hold a range of activities including arts and craft, tea workshops, social tennis, a teddy bears picnic and a wellness and lifestyle come and try event. The Seniors Month Program also includes activities at Redland City Council Libraries, Redland Performing Arts Centre, Redland Art Gallery and Redlands IndigiScapes Centre. They include: Redland Performing Arts Centre

  • Queensland Ballet’s Ballet for Seniors

  • Redland Sings with Jonathon Welch

  • The Royal Czech Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty

  • Brisbane Excelsior Brass Band – Best of British Anthems

Redland Art Gallery

  • An exhibition by Brisbane-based artist Gordon Shepherdson at RAG, Cleveland

  • An exhibition by multi-media artist Yanni Van Zijl at RAG, Capalaba

Libraries · Author talks including crime fiction author Chris Hammer, historical fiction author Christine Wells and Australian author Judy Nunn

  • Create and Connect sessions: macrame keychains, calligraphy for beginners, mosaic art and trivia challenge,

  • Local history health check

  • Health chats on dementia awareness and better hearing health

IndigiScapes

  • One-hour guided tours followed by coffee and cake at Indigi Cafe

For a listing of Seniors Month activities on Redlands Coast, including any event costs and booking requirements, visit redland.qld.gov.au/seniors

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