12 September 2023. 

New response plan has fire ants surrounded, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities. 

“This new focus on compliance shows that the National Fire Ant Eradication Program is serious about enforcing the rules that prevent fire ants from spreading,” Mr Furner said.

“Under the Biosecurity Act there are penalties of up to $470,000 or 3 years imprisonment for the most serious aggravated offences. 

“For businesses or persons who fail to discharge their General Biosecurity Obligation, compliance officers have powers under the Biosecurity Act to shut down worksites until a biosecurity risk is mitigated.

Under the new response plan the National Program will scale up compliance activities across the region. 

The compliance team will aim to conduct up to 12,000 audits annually to ensure maximum possible compliance with restrictions on moving these materials (e.g. baled hay, straw, sugarcane, soil, manure, mulch, quarry products, potted plants and more). Intelligence gathering will assist the compliance team to target the highest risk and most non-compliant industries.

The National Program has developed a fire ant material movement advice tool to help industry understand and comply with the requirements for moving fire ant carrier.

Click here for an overview of fire ants in Queensland, including biosecurity zones and information about your obligations to help stop the spread.