Communique - Red Imported Fire Ant eradication in Port Botany – New South Wales receives support

23 December 2014

The National Biosecurity Management Group (NBMG) met on 22 December 2014 to discuss the incursion of Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) detected at Port Botany in Sydney, New South Wales.

The NBMG unanimously agreed to support the New South Wales Response Plan to eradicate this environmentally significant pest. This is an important milestone for national biosecurity management as it is only the second response to be considered under the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement, established in 2012.

Genetic analysis has confirmed that this is a new incursion of RIFA which is not linked to the incursions in Queensland which are currently subject to national eradication programs. This new incursion of RIFA was detected at an industrial container site at Port Botany in November 2014, and the response to the incursion is being managed by New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

Technical experts across the country have agreed that there is a high degree of confidence that this incursion of RIFA can be eradicated.

DPI is using a range of techniques to delimit, contain and eradicate the infestation consistent with the existing national program. This includes surveillance of all suitable habitat within a two kilometre radius of the detection site, using odour detector dogs to determine the extent of the incursion, and direct nest injection combined with on-ground baiting. A Control Area is in place to prevent the movement of high-risk materials, such as soil, that could contain RIFA.

The Response Plan outlines the actions that will be taken to eradicate the infestation at Port Botany. The estimated cost of the eradication activities to April 2016 is $2.048 million which is being cost shared by all States, Territories and the Commonwealth.

Further information is available from the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.