other levels remain closed for repairs and cleaning, allow extra time to find parking.
Dog detection handler Jordan Christison and his dog Miff from the National Fire Ant Eradication Program on the site where fire ants were identified in the new industrial estate at South Murwillumbah. BELOW: One of the fire ant nests detected at South Murwillumbah.
Significant progress has been made since the detection of red imported fire ants at South Murwillumbah on Friday, with a team of leading NSW Government and national experts on the ground, supported by Tweed Shire Council.
Below is an update on the emergency response to date.
All fire ant nests detected on site at the vacant industrial lot in Quarry Road, South Murwillumbah have been treated, with surrounding land on the subdivision baited to help prevent any further outbreak.
A team of inspectors, accompanied by two detection dogs, have checked the lot for any further fire ant activity and are now conducting surveillance of nearby properties identified as most at risk. Nearby businesses identified as most high risk have been notified and surveillance teams will visit individual properties as soon as possible.
Once this is completed, inspectors will move outwards from the epicentre, contacting residents and businesses and doorknocking where necessary.
While surveillance continues on the ground, NSW DPI investigators are continuing to trace the source of the outbreak, believed to have come from southeast Queensland.
The NSW Government issued a new Biosecurity (Fire Ant) Emergency Order on Monday evening, which combines the existing NSW and Queensland orders, reflecting the lower risk profile of the Tweed outbreak compared to southeast Queensland.
This Emergency Order (including a plain English summary) can be found on the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) website, at dpi.nsw.gov.au/rifa. A detailed map of the 5 km biosecurity zone is also published here.
The new order clearly outlines what activity is permitted within a 5 km radius of the fire ant infestation site at Quarry Road in South Murwillumbah. This includes:
How to treat or clean fire ant carriers such as organic mulch, soil, compost and manure, soil samples, growing media, hay, potted plants, turf, and mining or quarrying materials.
How to follow cleaning requirements for agricultural equipment and earth moving equipment and dump trucks and bins.
Information on how to complete a record of movement declaration form.
The new order also outlines activities around organic waste collection (green bins) by Council, with these activities permitted to be collected by Council’s waste management services as per normal.
Residents within the 5km biosecurity zone are permitted to take their own vegetation waste to the Stotts Creek Recovery Centre, however they must ensure the vegetation is covered to prevent fire ants crawling into or landing on it. Any potential need for treatment of green waste will take place by authorities at the centre.
Community outreach is ramping up, with a NSW DPI drop-in information hub opened at the front of Council’s offices in Tumbulgum Road, Murwillumbah to provide support to businesses and residents.
Additional NSW DPI communications are also underway including SMS blasts to businesses within 500 m of the affected site, email newsletters to local businesses and residents, and digital road signage.
How you can help
Residents within this control area have a biosecurity duty not to spread fire ants as well as to report fire ants. Information on how to identify fire ants is available on the DPI website at dpi.nsw.gov.au/rifa.
Anyone who suspects fire ants on their property is urged not to disturb the nest but to report the activity to the NSW DPI by calling 1800 680 244 or visiting dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/forms/report-exotic-ants.
More detail on the National Fire Ant Eradication Program can be found online at fireants.org.au.
Fire ants are dark reddish-brown with a darker black-brown abdomen and are from two to six millimetres long. Residents and businesses should report any sign of fire ants to the NSW DPI on 1800 680 244
Photo 1: Fire ant sniffer dogCaption: Dog detection handler Jordan Christison and his dog Miff from the National Fire Ant Eradication Program on the site where fire ants were identified in the new industrial estate at South Murwillumbah.
Photo 2: Fire ant nestCaption: One of the fire ant nests detected at South Murwillumbah.
Photo 3: Fire antCaption: Fire ants are dark reddish-brown with a darker black-brown abdomen and are from two to six millimetres long. Residents and businesses should report any sign of fire ants to the NSW DPI on 1800 680 244
Connection to Council’s Community Strategic Plan:
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