18.2 C
Byron Shire
April 22, 2024

Government amends Biosecurity (Fire Ants) Emergency Order

Latest News

Flood insurance inquiry’s North Coast hearings 

A public hearing into insurers’ responses to the 2022 flood was held in Lismore last Thursday, with one local insurance brokerage business owner describing the compact that exists between insurers and society as ‘broken’. 

Other News

Paul Watson has his say on Sea Shepherd ousting

Regarding your article concerning the split in Sea Shepherd. I established Sea Shepherd as a global movement, not as an organisation, controlled by a few men. It was a democratic association of independent national entities

Byron U/18 girls basketballers undefeated in regional competition

The Byron Bay Beez girls U/18 squad are undefeated and sit on top of the North Eastern Junior League (NEJL) after two of four rounds.

Musicians and MLC support the save Wallum fight

As the drama unfolded between police and protesters at the Wallum Development in Brunswick Heads yesterday, people were drawn to the site by the red alerts sent out by the Save Wallum organisers.

Where the children can play: Lismore’s new Lego café

Walking through Lismore’s elegant Starcourt Arcade, a new burst of colour appears in one of its little shops, instantly prompting two children to squeal in delight: ‘Legoooooo!’.

A quiet day in Bruns after arrests and lock-ons

Though no machinery arrived at Wallum this morning, contractors and police were on the development site at Brunswick Heads as well as dozens of Save Wallum protesters. 

As the spread of fire ants into the north of the state becomes more apparent, the NSW Government has made amendments to the Biosecurity (Fire Ants) Emergency Order in an attempt to stem fire ant migration.

These amendments will strengthen the requirements for Queensland turf suppliers and installers, as part of its hardline approach to stop fire ants from entering the state.

The movement of turf from Southeast Queensland remains a high-risk carrier material of fire ants and has been linked to the fire ant nest found in Murwillumbah in late November 2023.

Fire ants commonly by humans

Minister for Agriculture, Tara Moriarty, said fire ants are commonly spread through human activity, such as the movement of materials used for landscaping, building, and agriculture, such as soil and turf. ‘Fire ants are not marching into NSW; they are being carried, and it’s this human behaviour we are addressing both through education and compliance measures.’

Businesses, individuals, and the turf industry are now being asked to get behind the fight against fire ants by ensuring their turf products are treated and fire ant-free, to reduce the risk of fire ants spreading into NSW.

Turf sourced from the fire ant-infested area of QLD must now be treated at the point of lay in NSW. Installers must either treat turf immediately following lay, or store in preventative conditions until installation.

Record of Movement Declaration

A Record of Movement Declaration must be completed by anyone who initiates the movement of turf from either a fire ant infested area in QLD or movement control area in NSW. 

QLD sourced turf must also include the upload of a plant health certificate, ensuring that the supplier has complied with all treatment, harvest, and transport requirements in the order.

Chemicals used in the treatment of the turf must be approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) and used in accordance with label directions and permit conditions.

For businesses ‘on selling’ turf products, it is crucial that treatment requirements and necessary documentation are passed onto consumers.

Manage the movement of materials

Ms Moriarty said the Emergency Orders already identify and manage the movement of fire ant carrier materials that present high risks of carrying fire ants. ‘Turf is a high-risk carrier, providing the perfect environment for ant settlement and movement.

‘By applying this treatment and keeping fire ants out of NSW, the turf industry is contributing to protecting our environment and economy.

‘So far, the northern NSW community has played a crucial and proactive role, and we thank them for their cooperation.’

Biosecurity (Fire Ants) Emergency Order explained

  • The Order places restrictions on the movement into NSW from the fire ant infested area of Queensland of fire ant carrier materials including organic mulch, compost, growing media, manure, soil and anything with soil on it, hay, straw, chaff, silage, potted plants, turf, agricultural equipment, earth moving equipment, sand, gravel, chitters, coal fines, coal stone, overburden and decomposed granite .
  • It outlines the requirements for the movement of each carrier into NSW from the fire ant infested area in QLD.
  • A person in breach of an emergency order is guilty under the Biosecurity Act 2015 of a category 2 offence, for which the maximum penalties are:
    • In the case of an individual $1,100,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further penalty of $137,500 for each day the offence continues.
    • In the case of a corporation $2,200,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further penalty of $275,000 for each day the offence continues.

For more information about red imported fire ants and the Emergency Order, visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) website.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Shouldn’t the turf be treated before it leaves Queensland not treated in NSW talk about stupid you’d only need a few ants to get away or a rogue operator not complying or giving a stuff about bio security to have a outbreak in NSW frig who dreamt this idea up and of course there are not enough compliance officers to police this obviously it need to treated in Queensland and checked at the border of NSW makes lot more sense not leaving the gate open and hoping the ants don’t bolt argh

    • Well, that is more sensible and effective, but it still wouldn’t have stopped them anymore than the all the compliance stuff stopped them getting into the country in the first place.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Getting ready for the 24/25 bush fire season

With this year’s official NSW Bush Fire Danger Period closing on March 21, our thoughts are now turned toward to 2024-25 season and Essential Energy has begun surveying its powerlines in and around the North Coast region.

Keeping watch on Tyalgum Road

Residents keen to stay up to date on the status of the temporary track at Tyalgum Road – particularly during significant rain events – are urged to sign up to a new SMS alert system launched by Tweed Shire Council.

Blaming Queensland again

I was astounded to read Mandy Nolan’s article ‘Why The Nude Beach Is A Wicked Problem’, in which she implied that it may largely...

Deadly fire ants found in Murray-Darling Basin

The Invasive Species Council has expressed serious concern following the detection of multiple new fire ant nests at Oakey, 29 km west of Toowoomba in Queensland.