The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s frontlinebiosecurity officers have successfully detected a new red imported fire antinfestation at the Port of Brisbane.

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment Deputy Secretary AndrewTongue said the discovery by officers undertaking routine surveillance as partof the National Border Surveillance program was a reminder of the importanceof vigilance in maintaining biosecurity.

“Red imported fire ants are one of the world’s worst invasive species due totheir devastating economic, environmental and social impacts,” Mr Tongue said.

“They are a danger to people and our way of life, destroy agricultural anddomestic infrastructure, and are a serious environmental threat.

“Northern Australia is the frontline for many high-risk animal and plant pestsand diseases, including red imported fire ants.

“Biosecurity Queensland confirmed the ants found in the Port of Brisbane arefrom the United States and are not related to any other infestations inAustralia.

“The Australian Government, Biosecurity Queensland, and detector dogs from theNational Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program found and treated the mainnest on 10 March and continue to work together to uncover and eliminate anyfurther possible infestation.

“The Australian Government is also working to develop a tracing plan and ispleased with the cooperation of industry to date.

“While we were successful in the early detection of a serious biosecurity riskin this instance, looking for and reporting unusual pests, weeds and diseasesis something everyone can join us in doing.

“In this instance, industries and businesses at the Port of Brisbane are wellplaced to keep an eye out for unusual ants and other hitchhiker pests thatmight arrive on shipping containers or vessels.

“Australia’s unique natural environment, way of life and our clean, greenstatus as an exporter of high-quality produce hinges on our robust biosecuritysystem. Complacency is not an option.”

More information on red imported fire ant, including photos, can be found onthe Outbreak website:

Import shipments may need to be treated and certified. If you are planning toimport please check our Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON), and ifyou suspect you have found exotic ants please call our See. Secure. Report.hotline on 1800 798 636.

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