7 May 2014
The inaugural meeting of the National Biosecurity Management Group (NBMG) was held on 30 April 2014 to discuss an incursion of Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) detected at Yarwun in central Queensland.
The NBMG unanimously agreed to support Queensland’s Response Plan to eradicate this environmentally significant pest. This is an important milestone for national biosecurity management as it is the first response to be considered under the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement.
Genetic analysis has confirmed that this is a new incursion of RIFA which is not linked to either the incursion in the same area in 2006 or the incursion in south-east Queensland. The previous incursion of RIFA in Yarwun was successfully eradicated by the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (QDAFF) in September 2010.
This new incursion of RIFA was detected at a multi-use industrial site and port facility at Yarwun (Port of Gladstone) in December 2013. The response to the incursion is being managed by QDAFF.
Technical experts across the country have agreed that there is a high degree of confidence that this incursion of RIFA can be eradicated.
QDAFF is using a range of techniques to delimit, contain and eradicate the infestation. This includes using on‑ground surveillance and odour detector dogs to determine the extent of the incursion, direct nest injection combined with on-ground and aerial baiting with an insect growth regulator to destroy fire ant colonies, and implementation of strict movement controls to prevent further spread. Queensland expects to confirm that delimitation has been successful in July 2014.
Queensland’s Response Plan outlines the actions that will be taken to eradicate the incursion. The plan anticipates that, based on current information, RIFA will be eradicated in Yarwun by 31 August 2016. The estimated cost of the eradication activities outlined in the plan is $3.295 million which is being cost shared by all States, Territories and the Commonwealth.