Biosecurity blitz to extinguish fire ant threat

8 Sep 2023

A biosecurity compliance blitz kicked off today on the NSW-Queensland Border, with NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) working with NSW Police, to ensure the State remains free from red imported fire ants.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Chief Invasive Species Officer, Scott Charlton said a two-day blitz is one part of the ongoing compliance strategy to increase awareness of fire ants and assist in reducing the threat of fire ants spreading into NSW.

“We know that the biggest risk to fire ants spreading into NSW is from people moving landscaping materials or livestock feeds such as baled hay across the border, which is why we have an Emergency Order in place to restrict movement of these materials,” Mr Charlton said.

“Over the next two days, NSW DPI Biosecurity Compliance Officers will work alongside NSW Police to conduct checks on commercial vehicles that are transporting material that could potentially carry fire ants.

“If vehicles are carrying this material and they are from the known fire ant areas in South East QLD into NSW, they will need to have the correct documentation to transport these materials into NSW, otherwise they will be turned back.

Those who breached the Emergency Order could face significant penalties.

“Fines for breaches of the Emergency Order can reach up to $1.1 million for an individual and up to $2.2 million for a corporation,” he said.

“It is essential that everyone knows and understands their duties when bringing fire ant carrier materials into NSW from the known fire ant-infested areas in South East Queensland.

“We all have a role to play in reducing the risk of fire ants spreading into NSW.”

Red imported fire ants cause a severe, burning sting and can cause serious social, economic, and environmental harm as infestations restrict the use of backyards, parks, playgrounds, beaches and sports fields and damage electrical, irrigation and agricultural equipment.

For more information on the Biosecurity (Fire Ant) Emergency Order and the requirements for bringing fire ant carrier materials into NSW visit

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