INVASIVE PEST: Changes to Queensland’s fire ant zones have been announced.
INVASIVE PEST: Changes to Queensland’s fire ant zones have been announced.

Do new fire ant zones affect you?

THE efforts to eliminate invasive fire ants have not been forgotten in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, with new changes to the Biosecurity Regulation coming into effect to better protect areas where the ants have been driven back.

National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program general manager Graeme Dudgeon said the changes would make it easier for industry to do the right thing in the fight against fire ants.

“With initial reports from the current eradication area in parts of the Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim and the Ipswich City local government looking very promising, we need to protect these areas from reinfestation,” he said.

“Building, development, landscaping and hay industries move materials such as soil, hay, quarry products and mulch that may carry fire ants. If movement controls are not followed, every load could potentially spread fire ants across southeast Queensland and beyond.”

READ MORE: Final baiting underway to drive fire ants from valley

The biosecurity zones that guide the movement of potential ant-carrying materials have been reduced from three to two to simplify the restrictions for transporters.

“Under our 10-year eradication plan we’ve been concentrating on eradicating fire ants in the west while containing and suppressing in the east. It makes sense for the biosecurity zones to reflect this,” Mr Dudgeon said.

“More stringent requirements will apply to the disposal of a range of construction and landscaping materials in waste facilities in the first eradication zone.”

The new Zone 1 covers the western area of the infestation, including parts of the Somerset and Lockyer Valley, where fire ant eradication efforts have been extremely successful.

Adare, Blenheim, Crowley Vale, Forest Hill, Gatton, Glenore Grove, Laidley, Lockrose, Plainland, Prenzlau, Tarampa, Tenthill (Upper and Lower) and Thornton are among the localities included in the new Zone 1.

Due to the relatively low risk of ant incursions in Zone 1, soil and other materials can be transported within this area or into Zone 2 without the need for a permit, although appropriate steps should still be taken to ensure the material is ant-free.

READ MORE: Industry support needed to ensure fire ant eradication

The rules for Zone 2 are stricter, with transportation of materials within Zone 2 being allowed but moving materials into Zone 1 requiring a Biosecurity Instrument Permit.

A BIP is also required in any situation where materials from Zone 1 or 2 are being transported to ant-free areas outside of these zones.

Zone 2 includes Clarendon, Glamorgan Vale, Lowood, Patrick Estate, Vernor and Wivenhoe Pocket.

“The zone changes mean some suburbs will be included for the first time and I urge Queenslanders to familiarise themselves with the fire ant movement controls.” Mr Dudgeon said.

Visit daf.qld.gov.au/fireantzones for the full details of the updated regulation, maps of the biosecurity zones and lists of the suburbs covered in each of the zones.

More stories by Nathan Greaves.


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