Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW - Media Release
8 Dec 2023
The next wave of Operation Victa, a biosecurity blitz involving NSW Police and NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) officers, is operating on the Queensland and NSW border as part of efforts to contain the movement of Red Imported Fire Ants from Queensland into NSW.
This operation will ensure high risk vehicles hauling potential fire ant carrying materials south into NSW are complying with biosecurity requirements.
All those transporting fire ant carrier materials from Queensland into New South Wales are required to complete a Record of Movement declaration prior to departure. High risk materials include agricultural and earthmoving equipment, mulch, compost, hay, soil, turf, or potting mix.
For those transporting these materials from the known infestation zone in Queensland, carriers will also need to comply with cleaning requirements, and lodge a Biosecurity Certificate.
NSW DPI, NSW Police and heavy vehicle compliance staff will be on site at road locations to make sure the Biosecurity Emergency Order is being followed and ensure potential movement of this high-risk pest is minimised.
The Biosecurity Emergency Order outlines requirements for transporting material both from the Queensland infested area into NSW and from the NSW control area in South Murwillumbah to any other location in NSW.
In partnership with the National Fire Ant Eradication Program and Tweed Valley Council, the NSW Government has fully eradicated the recent infested site in South Murwillumbah, with no new infested premises detected in the surrounding control area.
The NSW Government is urging businesses and residents in the Tweed Local Government Area to be on the lookout for fire ants and their mounds.
As part of the community awareness campaign, DPI with the Department of Education are informing school children in the north coast region about the dangers of fire ants. Fighting the Fire ant - as a citizen scientist is being delivered in both secondary schools and primary schools.
Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty said:
We all have a part to play in the effort to keep NSW fire ant free.
We’re reminding all those transporting fire ant carrier materials from Queensland into NSW, or from the NSW control zone, to complete a Record of Movement declaration prior to departure.
If you’re from a Queensland known infested area, you’ll also need to lodge a Biosecurity Certificate.
It’s a simple online form that takes a few minutes to fill out but gives us all the information we need to track high-risk material and stop the spread of fire ants.
As part of the Operation Victa, DPI Biosecurity staff will make sure the Biosecurity Emergency Order is being followed and ensure we contain the movement of this high-risk pest.
It is important local schools are involved in raising the awareness of fire ants, with the Fighting the Fire ant - as a citizen scientist program, because they will raise this topic at home and spread the word.
With increased traffic expected between Qld and NSW over the Christmas school holidays it is imperative that we all do our bit to ensure that we stop the spread of fire ants into NSW.
Fire ants are dark reddish-brown with a darker black-brown abdomen and range in size from 2 to 6mm long.
Although they can look similar to other ants, their ant nests are distinctive with mounds of loose, crumbly or fluffy looking soil with a honeycomb appearance, up to 40cm high, with no obvious entrance holes.
Red imported fire ants can damage electrical and agricultural equipment, sting people causing allergic reactions, sting pets and livestock, kill native plants and animals, and also damage ecosystems beyond repair.
Alastair Walton | Minister Moriarty | 0418 251 229
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