QLD Currumbin Waters fire ant detection a reminder to remain vigilant across the NSW border

8 Mar 2024

Businesses and residents in the northeast corner of NSW are reminded to remain vigilant following the detection of fire ants at Currumbin Waters, approximately 1.2km from the NSW/QLD border.

The National Fire Ant Eradication Plan (NFAEP) has notified the NSW Government of the positive fire ant detection at Currumbin Waters, Queensland.

Following a report from the public, the nest was diagnosed as positive for fire ants and a team from the NFAEP destroyed the nest shortly after the detection.

This detection will invoke movement controls within a 5 km radius of the site and thereby involves a mix of QLD and NSW territories on either side of the border.

This has led to the NSW Government needing to issue a Biosecurity (fire ants) Emergency Order within that 5km radius that covers south of the border.

The NSW Government is working closely with the National eradication team and QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

The small, impacted section of NSW covers the surrounds of Piggabeen and Cobaki that are now for precautionary measures classified as a fire ant infested area.

Movement of fire ant carrier materials - soil, mulch, turf and hay - out of this part of NSW is now regulated under the Emergency Order and may require a Record of Movement Declaration and a Plant Health Certificate.

The NSW Government is working closely with the National team to prevent red imported fire ants from entering NSW, and ultimately eradicating the pest from Australia.

Around $600 million has been allocated to this fight, with the NSW Government topping it up by $95 million in 2023.

The state’s response plan is working with swift and effective actions such as inspecting any reports of suspicious ants or eradicating found fire ant sites.

Of the 572 reports of suspicious ants to the NSW Government’s hotline, all have been determined as not fire ants except for two – South Murwillumbah in November 2023 and Ballina in January this year.

Following those nests' destruction, extensive ongoing surveillance revealed no further evidence of fire ants in NSW.

For more information about red imported fire ants or to report sightings, visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) website or call 1800 680 244.

Minister for Agriculture Tara Moriarty:

“The NSW Government is serious about eradicating fire ants and that is why we raised the funding from $15 million under the previous Government to $95 million last year to fight this pest.”

“We’ve proven that we respond quickly to reports or detections in NSW or close by in Queensland. The issuing of this Biosecurity Emergency Order across a small area, even though it’s a fire ant site in QLD, is because we will take every precaution and action in the fight against fire ants.

“Fire ants don’t march into NSW, they are carried, as a result of moving fire ant carrier materials such as soil, mulch, hay and turf. That is why control orders and education both play critical parts in the fire ant eradication campaign.

“Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility, so it’s critical that anyone moving these types of materials complies with this Biosecurity Emergency Order.

MEDIA: Alastair Walton | Minister Moriarty | 0418 251 229