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
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.
Currently, some training and refresher courses are unavailable due to COVID-19 social distancing rules, so the EPA has issued a pesticide training temporary exemption. The initial temporary exemption has been renewed and now allows some pesticide users an extension until 21 April 2021 to complete their training or five-yearly refresher course.
How the COVID-19 pesticide training exemption works
- Trainee pest management technicians and fumigators who hold a training permit from the EPA now have until 21 April 2021 to enrol in an approved course. Trainees must still carry out pest management technician or fumigation work under the supervision of a person who holds a current licence for the type of work being done.
- Pesticide users and Authorised Control Officers who have completed accreditation training, but are due to complete a five yearly short refresher course on or after 1 March 2020, now have until 21 April 2021 to complete a refresher course.
- Unqualified people may, until 21 April 2021, use pesticides in agricultural or forestry operations but only under the direct supervision of a person who is qualified to use the pesticide and only 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.