Fire ant emergency response – information for drivers moving fire ant carrier materials from affected areas in QLD to NSW

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NSW Department of Primary Industries has issued an Emergency Order, that places restrictions on the movement of fire ant carrier materials including organic mulch, soil and anything with soil on it, hay and baled material, potted plants, turf, agriculture, or earth moving machinery, mining or quarry materials, sand and gravel being moved into NSW from the fire ant infested area of QLD.

The fire ant-specific Emergency Order takes effect from 16th August 2023 and will help to boost community awareness of the NSW entry requirements for fire ant carrier materials.

The Emergency Order provides:

  • stop and search powers to Authorised Officers to stop a vehicle and inspect the vehicle and anything in it or on it with specific relation to fire ant carrier materials; and
  • applies to any person who deals with a fire ant carrier (domestic or commercial); and
  • further clarifies the known infested area in QLD, which includes 5 km around new detections that have occurred outside the previously described fire ant biosecurity zone; and
  • further clarifies requirements for transiting the known infested area; and
  • outlines the existing requirements for the movement of carrier materials such as organic mulch, soil and anything with soil on it, baled material, potted plants, turf, agriculture, or earth moving machinery, mining or quarry materials (sand and gravel) into NSW from the fire ant infested area of QLD.

More information:

A person in breach of an emergency control order is guilty under the Biosecurity Act 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 transport operators:

The company contracting the transport operators to move the materials listed above from an affected area across the border to NSW must use the online Queensland Government tool to check compliance requirements.

If a permit is required, the company contracting the transport company to move the materials, must give the driver a copy of the permit to keep in the truck when crossing the border.

Please contact the following departments if you have any questions:

Queensland Government Biosecurity – 132 523 (regarding affected zones, affected materials and permits)

New South Wales Department of Primary Industries – 1800 680 244 (regarding inspections and requirements in NSW)