Training in pesticide use is required under the Pesticides Regulation 2017. If you use pesticides as part of your work, you must
- complete initial accreditation training
- maintain your competency in the use of pesticides by
- renewing your training every 5 years by completing a short refresher course or
- participating in a quality assurance (QA) or stewardship program that has been approved by the EPA
COVID-19 pesticide training exemption expires 21 April 2021
If you use pesticides as part of your work, you must complete initial accreditation training and then maintain your competency by completing a short refresher course every five years, unless you are part of an EPA approved quality assurance or stewardship program.
During the peak of the pandemic, some training and refresher courses were unavailable due to COVID-19 social distancing rules, so in April 2020 the EPA issued a pesticide training temporary exemption. This allowed some pesticide users an extension until 21 April 2021 to complete their training or five-yearly refresher course.
From 21 April 2021 these exemptions are no longer in force now that changes to public health orders allow most courses to be delivered.
The previous exemptions now being lifted included
- Trainee pest management technicians and fumigators who hold a training permit from the EPA were given an extension to enrol in an approved course, provided all normal supervision requirements were observed.
- Pesticide users and Authorised Control Officers who were due to complete a short refresher course on or after 1 March 2020 were given an extension.
- Unqualified people were allowed to use pesticides in agricultural or forestry operations under the direct supervision of a person who is qualified to use the pesticide if using hand-held and hand-powered equipment.
You must continue to only use registered pesticides as per the instructions on the approved label or Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority permit and take all measures to avoid harming other people or damaging the environment.
There is no change to pesticide training requirements for licensed aerial applicators, remotely piloted aircraft applicators, ground applicators, pest management technicians and fumigators. There is no change to pesticide training requirements for people seeking a new aerial applicator licence (piloted or remotely piloted) or new commercial ground applicator licence.
This is a developing situation and the response taken by the EPA to COVID-19 may change over time.