Don’t fall foul of fire ant movement restrictions

South East Queensland’s building and development industry is on notice about complying with movement restrictions after 60 tonnes of soil was illegally moved outside a fire ant biosecurity zone.

The breach occurred last month near the Queensland/New South Wales border, with the movement potentially jeopardising the good work done by the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program in helping rid the state of this pest.

National Program General Manager Graeme Dudgeon said fire ant biosecurity zones were in place for a reason and people needed to take them seriously.

“If you own a business and are moving materials, or you live in a residential area and you have gravel or turf delivered, it’s your responsibility to know where it’s come from,” he said.

“Biosecurity zones are there to help stop the spread of fire ants and we need both industry and the community to comply with them.”

Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) can be issued to companies and individuals who illegally move soil, turf, pot plants, hay, mulch or other materials that may carry fire ants.

“PINs are a swift and decisive response to non-compliance and can be issued for a range of offences with penalties of up to $5000,” Mr Dudgeon said.

“The company responsible for the unauthorised movement to the New South Wales border will be fined more than $4500.

“People need to be aware of the rules before moving materials that may carry fire ants, and if necessary, apply for a biosecurity permit.”

There are a number of risk mitigation measures people can follow to help stop the spread of fire ants. For details, as well as maps and permits, visit daf.qld.gov.au/fireants.

The National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program is a nationally cost-shared program funded by all Australian state and territory governments, and the federal government.

For more information visit daf.qld.gov.au/fireants or call 13 25 23.