Pest management technicians, fumigators, training permits and ground applicators

There are special training, licence, notification and record keeping requirements for pest management technicians and fumigators. If you are in this line of business, this page will guide you on your legal responsibilities and using pesticides safely and legally. There are also requirements for ground applicators to hold licences and for trainee pest management technicians and fumigators to hold training permits.

  • If you regularly use pesticides or fumigants in your work, you need a pest management technician licence or fumigator licence.
  • If you are a trainee pest management technician or fumigator you will be required to hold a training permit
  • If you provide services that use pesticides (other than fumigants) to control weeds or pests affecting plants or soil you are required to hold a ground applicator licence. The Ground Applicator Licence Fact Sheet (PDF 327KB) provides more detail on situations where a licence is required.  
  • If you are applying for more than one licence type you must meet the training requirements for each. Where there are identical competency requirements these only need to be completed once. 
  • You can apply for all of the above pesticide licences at eConnect EPA.
  • If you hold a SafeWork NSW certificate of competency, this will continue to apply until its expiry date. You do not need to apply to the EPA to convert it to a licence until it approaches its expiry date.
  • SafeWork NSW will continue to regulate work health and safety matters – call SafeWork NSW on 131 050.

Clause 6 of the Pesticides Regulation 2017  contains more information on what is considered ‘prescribed work’ and therefore requires a licence.  

The public register lists all pesticide licences issued in NSW.

This licence allows you to apply pesticides (other than fumigants) to control pests for a fee or reward and for a public authority. You will need this licence if you are conducting commercial termite treatments.

You can apply for a Pest Management Technician licence using eConnect NSW.

Training requirements

To obtain a Pest Management Technician licence, you must complete the following core competencies in the CPP Property Services Training Package (formerly PRM04 Asset Management Training Package).

  • CPPPMT3005 Manage pests without applying pesticides
  • CPPPMT3006 Manage pests by applying pesticides
  • CPPPMT3018 Maintain equipment and pesticide storage area in pest management vehicles 

Note that

  • Completion of the AQF level 3 competencies which are required as the base training for unlicensed pesticides users, does not meet the training requirements for a Pest Management Technician licence.
  • TAFE NSW offers Pest Management Certificate III (Property Services Training Package) and the Statement of Attainment in Pest Inspection – Timber and Statement of Attainment in Fumigation Operations  
  • other registered training organisations may offer training under the CPP Property Services Training Package – consult the list of training providers

You need a fumigator licence to use products containing

  • methyl bromide
  • phosphine
  • ethylene oxide (except single-dose canisters)
  • ethylene dichloride
  • carbon disulphide
  • chloropicrin
  • hydrogen cyanide

From 1 July 2018 this list will be updated and you require a fumigator licence to use products containing

  • 1, 3-dichloropropene
  • chloropicrin
  • dazomet
  • ethanedinitrile
  • ethyl formate
  • ethylene oxide (except single dose canisters)
  • metham sodium
  • methyl bromide
  • any product that liberates phosphine gas
  • potassium-monomethyl dithiocarbamate
  • sulfuryl fluoride

You can apply for a Fumigator licence using eConnect NSW.  

Training requirements

To obtain a Fumigator licence, you must complete the following core competencies within the CPP Property Services Training Package (formerly PRM04 Asset Management Training Package)

  • CPPPMT3006A Apply pesticides to manage pests (formerly PRMPM056) or CPPPMT3006 Manage pests by applying pesticides
  • CPPPMT3011A Conduct fumigation (formerly PRMPM11B) or CPPPMT3011 Manage organisms by applying fumigants to commodities and environments 

Note that

  • Completion of the AQF level 3 competencies which are required as the base training for unlicensed pesticides users, does not meet the training requirements for a Fumigator licence.
  • TAFE NSW offers Pest Management Certificate III (Property Services Training Package) and the Statement of Attainment in Pest Inspection – Timber and Statement of Attainment in Fumigation Operations
  • other registered training organisations may offer training under the CPP Property Services Training Package – consult the list of training providers

If you undertake fumigation or pest management technician work and do not hold the relevant licence, you may only continue to do that work if you obtain a training permit and are concurrently undertaking an approved course of training for your fumigation or pest management technician work.

You can apply for a Training Permit using eConnect NSW

  • CPPPMT3005 Manage pests without applying pesticides
  • CPPPMT3006 Manage pests by applying pesticides
  • CPPPMT3018 Maintain equipment and pesticide storage area in pest management vehicles

An ‘approved course of training’ for fumigation work means completing the following units of competency in the CPP Property Services Training Package 

  • CPPPMT3006 Manage pests by applying pesticides
  • CPPPMT3011 Manage organisms by applying fumigants to commodities and environments 

Visit Training.gov.au for more details on these units of competency and registered training organisations approved to deliver them.

Transitioning from a training permit to a full licence

If you have completed your training as pest management technician or fumigator, you can apply for your full licence with eConnect.

You can apply for the full licence shortly before your training permit expires by using the ‘Training permit holders - apply for a Pesticide licence’ option. You will pay the full licence fee and it will be valid for 5 years.

If it is still a significant amount of time before the Training Permit expires you have two options:

  • pay and apply for a full 5-year PMT or FUM licence and get credited the outstanding prorated amount from the training permit towards the cost of the full PMT or FUM licence, or
  • apply for a PMT or FUM licence which expires 5 years after the date that the Training Permit was issued, and pay the pro-rata balance of the 5-year licence fee.

NOTE: If you hold a permit for both PMT and FUM work you can only apply the full licence for which you have completed the training.

If you use pesticides (other than fumigants) to control weeds or pests affecting plants or soil you are required to hold a Ground Applicator licence. This only applies for work done for fee-for-reward work. It does not apply

  • if you are performing the work as an employee of a local or State public authority on public land
  • to farmers or their employees using pesticides on their own land, or land belonging to a family member
  • to amenity horticulture (including ground and garden maintenance, golf course maintenance, landscaping, floriculture, arboriculture, operations of a nursery)
  • for bush care/bush regeneration (maintaining or restoring native plant communities)
  • for any spraying of plants that falls within the domestic like use exemption 

More detailed information on ground applicator licensing and exemptions, including how to determine if you require a licence, can be found on the Ground Applicator Licence Fact Sheet (PDF 327KB)

You can apply for a Ground Applicator licence using eConnect NSW.

Training requirements

Applicants for a Ground Applicator licence must have successfully completed the units of competency

  • AHCCHM303 - Prepare and apply chemicals
  • AHCCHM304A - Transport and store chemicals

 

If you are an individual undertaking any of the following activities (which are not defined as ‘prescribed work’) you are not required to hold a licence but these activities may require different training:

  • use of pesticides by yourself, or an employee, in connection with agricultural activities on your own land
  • use of pesticides for amenity horticulture purposes
  • use of pesticides for bush care purposes
  • the use of pesticides for the purposes of water treatment (including the treatment of water in pools and spas)
  • application of paint that contains anti-fouling pesticides
  • use of pesticides to treat or prevent an ectoparasitic infestation
  • use of pesticides to treat or preserve timber at a treatment plant
  • the application of pesticides by means of aircraft (whether manned or unmanned) – requires a different EPA licence; see information for aerial operators

You also do not need a licence if

  • your pesticide use is only for the selling, testing, maintaining or disposing of equipment used in licenced work
  • your fumigation work is carried out on your own farm land and only for the control of insect pests in stored products or for the control of rabbits, mice or rats

For more details consult clause 8 to 12 of the Pesticides Regulation 2017  

In addition, there are currently two exemptions issued by the EPA from the requirement to hold a pest management technician or fumigator licence. The exemptions are for:

  • the use of pesticides on timber power poles by staff or contractors of an Electricity Distributor to control termites and other timber pests 
  • trained staff of Local Land Services and National Parks and Wildlife Service to use phosphine and chloropicrin fumigants for the control of mice, rats or rabbits. 

To be exempt from holding a licence for the activities above, you must hold the chemical user accreditation as stated in the exemption order and meet all other requirements of the Pesticides Regulation 2017, including pesticide use notification and record keeping requirements.

 You can now apply for all pesticides licences online using eConnect.

To apply for a licence, supply

  • proof of identity and age (you must be 18-years-old or older)
  • copies of the statement of attainment or qualifications from a registered training organisation as proof you have successfully completed the training
  • a passport-size high quality photograph of your face and shoulders – note that if you are sending in a hard copy application form you must provide 2 photos. 
  • the fee for an application made on or after 1 July 2017 is $196, applicable to each licence type. From 1 July 2018 this fee will increase to $295. You must indicate on the application each licence type you are applying for and you will be issued one card for multiple licence types.

If you are not using eConnect, you must complete the Pest Management Technician, Fumigator or Ground Applicator Licence application form (DOCX 272KB)

Note that

  • the fee can be paid by credit card or EFT
  • fees are subject to a Customer Price Index increase each July
  • licences are awarded to an individual and cannot be awarded to a business or a business name
  • licences are valid for 5 years

Hard copy applications can be mailed to Regulation and Compliance Support Unit, NSW EPA, PO Box A290, Sydney South, NSW 1232.

If you have a current occupational interstate licence, permit or certificate of competency for pest management technician or fumigator work you can also apply using eConnect. You will still have to

  • complete the licence application form
  • attach two recent passport photos
  • attach a copy of your interstate licence
  • provide the fee

However, you do not need to show evidence of training.

The EPA, under mutual recognition legislation, will recognise a current equivalent licence issued in another State or Territory but needs to determine whether there are any problems with issuing a NSW licence and whether any special conditions may be required.

See ‘Applying for a licence’ for more information.

Overseas qualifications are not automatically recognised or eligible for conversion to a NSW licence, as Australian licensing requirements fall under local legislation and national standards. To find out more

  • phone the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555 (NSW only) or (02) 9995 5000 outside NSW, or
  • email info@epa.nsw.gov.au

You must apply for a new licence within 60 days of the expiry date. The renewal fee is $196 for applications made on or after 1 July 2017. After 1 July 2018 this fee will be $295. The EPA will send current licence holders a reminder notice and a renewal application form in the months before the expiry date.

You can apply to renew your licence using eConnect.

If your licence has been lost, damaged, destroyed or stolen, complete the licence replacement application form (DOCX 105KB). The cost of replacing your licence is $23. On 1 July 2018 this will increase to $24. You can also use this form if your licence contains a printing error or was not received (there is no charge for this).

You can only supervise a trainee if you hold a pest management technician or fumigator licence. If you do not have a licence, appoint a company employee who does to supervise the trainee.

Under the Pesticides Regulation 2017, you must ensure the trainee keeps and maintains a record of training, for example, a logbook.

After each incidence of training, the trainee must update the record with

  • their name and address
  • the name and address of each employer they work for
  • the name of supervisor while the trainee is doing that work
  • a description of the work
  • the date or dates on which that work was done

You must

  • sign and date the record each time the trainee updates it
  • give the trainee directions, demonstrations, training and monitoring appropriate to the work they are doing
  • directly supervise the trainee
  • take immediate remedial action in the event of an emergency that arises from the trainee failing to competently carry out their work

You can provide a more indirect degree of supervision if you are satisfied that the trainee is competent and will not endanger the health and safety of the trainee or any other person.

Note that trainees must hold a Training Permit.

Before applying a pesticide

Before you apply pesticides outdoors, consider the weather conditions and only spray if you can minimise the risk of spray drift and prevent people and animals from being harmed.

Before you apply pesticides inside, talk to the residents about removing or protecting items or furniture that should not be sprayed, such as cooking utensils, children's cots and toys.

Before applying pesticides at a school or childcare centre, suggest to the school principal or childcare centre manager that they schedule this work during school holidays or weekends.

When applying a pesticide

  • minimise the number of articles that need to be washed such as measuring containers, funnels and stirrers
  • wear personal protective equipment as directed on the product label or required under occupational health and safety legislation
  • where appropriate, add rinsates to the tank of pesticide to be used
  • always read the approved product label and follow all label directions – in NSW it is illegal to not follow the label directions on a pesticide
  • under the Work Health & Safety Regulation 2011, obtain Safety Data Sheets (SDS) about the pesticides you use from the chemical’s suppliers, read and understand them, and follow their directions
  • only use pesticides registered or permitted by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)
  • obtain an APVMA permit if you wish to use a pesticide in a way not covered by the label and strictly follow the permit’s directions
  • take all action to prevent injury to persons, damage to property or harm to non-target plants and animals through the use of a pesticide

Before you decide that it is safe for people to re-enter a site where pesticides have been applied, make sure

  • the area has been adequately ventilated
  • there is no vapour or smell present - remember that exposure to odour, as well as vapour, can affect people's health
  • check the label or SDS for instructions on re-entry periods and ventilation

Always dispose of pesticide products safely and legally, and recycle them when you can.

Some pesticide labels and APVMA permits require you to notify residents, neighbours or other members of the public before or while applying the pesticide. You must follow these label instructions. Look out for particular notification requirements relating to

  • signage
  • access and re-entry after pesticide application
  • odour and vapour
  • spraying within a certain distance of a property boundary or dwelling (buffer zones)

Even if you are not required to notify neighbours about any pesticides you are about to use, this is good practice and can help to avoid complaints or disputes. In particular

  • inform the managers of nearby sensitive places such as hospitals, schools and childcare centres so they can take steps to make sure the area is avoided if necessary
  • advise parents and patients that a pesticide application is coming up

Under Part 5 of the Pesticides Regulation 2017, you must notify

Resources

Under Part 4 of the Pesticides Regulation 2017, you must make and keep a record of every pesticide application you make.

You must record

  • who applied the pesticide, for example, if a contractor or employee applied the pesticide, the contractor or employee needs to record their name as well as the name, address and contact details of their employer
  • what pesticide was applied
  • how, when and where it was applied
  • what it was applied to and how much was applied
  • an estimate of the wind speed and direction if the pesticide was applied outdoors using spray equipment - the Bureau of Meteorology website has a Beaufort Scale that can be used to assist in recording wind speed for pesticide record keeping purposes

The record must be made within 48 hours of using the pesticide and kept for 3 years.

Another person can make the record for you but it is your responsibility to ensure it is accurate.

Resources

In NSW, the misuse of pesticides may be subject to

  • large fines of up to $120,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a corporation
  • penalty notices for lesser offences of up to $400 for an individual and $800 for a corporation

If any waterways are polluted

  • large fines apply of up to $120,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a corporation
  • penalty notices apply for less serious offences of up to $750 for an individual and $1500 for a corporation
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