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About South Murwillumbah

Fire ants have been detected in South Murwillumbah in north-eastern NSW, 13 kilometres south of the Queensland border.

NSW DPI, the National Fire Ant Eradication Program and Tweed Shire Council are working together in response to a detection of fire ants in Murwillumbah.

Communities in the border regions of Northern NSW should be on the lookout for fire ants and their nests and contact NSW DPI if suspected fire ants are found.

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Next steps of the response

In early 2024, the National Fire Ant Eradication Program will be conducting surveillance and treatment in a 5km radius of the detection to ensure that there are no more fire ants present.

It is vital that fire ant teams check and treat 100% of properties in the target area, whether fire ants are visible or not, to protect residents and businesses in the local community from the harmful impacts of this invasive pest.

Murwillumbah residents are being urged to play an active role in protecting their community against fire ants, by providing consent to allow surveillance and treatment on their properties.

When fire ant teams seek access to your property, let them in to keep fire ants out.

Authorise fire ant teams to enter the outdoor areas of your property to undertake surveillance and treatment by signing the Property Information Form on the National Fire Ant Eradication Program website.

Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more.

Treatment is safe for people and animals.

Treatment is approved by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). Further information is available here

What can I do?

Movement of a fire ant carrier is permitted into and within the 5km control area.

Movement of a fire ant carrier out of the 5km fire ant movement control area is only permitted when following the requirements as specified by the Emergency Order (No 1) 2024 (refer to Part 2 in the Order).

Treat or clean

  • Follow the treatment requirements specified for organic mulch, soil, compost and manure; soil samples; growing media; hay; potted plants; turf; and mining or quarrying materials.
  • Follow the cleaning requirements for agricultural equipment and earth moving equipment; and dump trucks and bins.

Complete the record of movement declaration form

  • For organic material, mining and quarrying material, and dirty machinery, complete the record of movement declaration form
  • Retain these details for 4 years.
  • For movement of clean or new agricultural machinery or earth moving equipment, a record of movement declaration form is not required to be completed.
  • Additionally, a record of movement declaration form is not required for the movement of grass, vegetation or clippings as discussed below.

Green bin/organic waste collection by council

  • No action is required for grass, vegetation and clippings which are collected by council as part of the council’s waste management services.
  • Household residents within the 5km zone are permitted to take their grass, vegetation and clippings direct to the Tweed Shire Council waste facility, however need to ensure that they are covered to prevent fire ants crawling into or landing on it.

Other movements

Movements out of the 5km Fire Ant Movement Control Area contrary to the Emergency Order may be authorised by a permit under certain conditions. A permit process is in place, and the granting of permits will be considered on a case by case basis. To discuss further contact the hotline on 1800 680 244.

Risk analysis in Murwillumbah

As part of the response to the detection of fire ants, an initial risk analysis is being implemented to determine surveillance priorities.

Some premises pose a higher risk of potentially having fire ants due to the nature of their business.

NSW DPI is assessing these high-risk premises, and where necessary, placing them under a temporary Individual Biosecurity Direction (IBD) to stop all movements of fire ant carriers and materials.

The priority is to ensure fire ants are contained and no further spread occurs.

Once the site has been thoroughly inspected by our field teams and/or detector dog teams, and deemed clear of any fire ants, the IBD will be removed. The premise will then be permitted to move as per the requirements in Part 3 of the current Emergency Order

If the planned movement cannot comply with the Emergency Order, Part 3, individuals must apply for a permit.

Visiting these high-risk sites is a priority - and is being done as quickly as possible.

Seen them? Contact us.

Use the online form for any suspicious sightings or call 1800 680 244.