Cost of fire-ant outbreak in Australia could be much higher than ‘flawed’ earlier prediction, data shows

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Australia Institute says 2021 analysis had 15-year timeframe when modelling of the invasive species is usually over 20 to 30 years

The cost of a widespread fire ant outbreak may be far higher than predicted in “flawed” government modelling provided to ministers in the fight against the highly invasive species, new research suggests.

The Australia Institute data, released on Wednesday, found that red imported fire ants will cost Australians more than $22bn by the 2040s if left to run rampant, with the benefits of achieving eradication estimated to be three to nine times greater than the $3bn needed to achieve that eradication.

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