A new independent report claims time is running out to eradicate the deadly red fire ant that is plaguing south-east Queensland and has the potential to spread across Australia.

The review of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program recommends the Federal Government double its spending on tackling the problem to $380mn over the next decade on treatment and surveillance.

The ants have a massive impact on agriculture and have been known to consume small livestock including lambs and chickens.

CEO of the Invasive Species Council Andrew Cox told the ABC the window of opportunity is closing.


Agriculture ministers from around Australia are due to meet early next year to decide on whether to increase efforts to eradicate the species or simply try to manage them.