Hello to our NSW ACT members!
While not a huge amount has happened since our last meeting on 24 August, I would like to share with you some of the recent correspondence between NSW AEPMA and NSW EPA. NSW EPA would like to inform you of the extension of the current temporary exemption to several mandatory pesticides training requirements in NSW until 21 April 2021.
You will recall that because some training courses have been impacted by COVID-19 social distancing rules, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a pesticide training temporary exemption that applies to a number of types of pesticide users. The initial temporary exemption was due to expire in October 2020 but has recently been renewed and now allows those pesticide users an extension until 21 April 2021 to complete their training.
The renewed exemption rolls forward the existing temporary exemption provisions so holders of pest management technician and fumigator trainee permits now have until 21 April 2021 to enrol in those courses.
Otherwise there is no change to requirements on urban pest management technicians, fumigators and holders of other types of pesticide licences - everyone 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.
More information for your members is available by contacting the Environment Line on 131 555 (02 9995 5555 outside NSW) or firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/pesticides/compulsory-training-pesticides .
An AEPMA Member was trying to find out if the EPA has set a limit of Supervisors to Trainees as per the training permit requirements, nothing specific is available on their website.
It stands to reason that best practice would be one on one however I have had 2-3 trainees with me on jobs and managed quite well (1 sprays while others watch etc.)
Reply from NSW EPA
There’s no numerical limit on the number of trainees per supervisor.
However, it’s important for you to be aware of the direct supervision requirements under Clause 15 of the Pesticides Regulation 2017 excerpted below:
15 Obligations of person responsible for trainee
(1) The person responsible for a trainee carrying out fumigation work or pest management technician work must ensure that:
(a) the trainee, when carrying out the work, is supervised by a supervisor who holds a licence authorising the supervisor to carry out work of the kind being done by the trainee, and
(b) the supervision of the trainee is direct supervision, unless the supervisor or the person responsible for the trainee has established:
(i) that the trainee’s competency makes direct supervision unnecessary, and
(ii) that a lesser degree of supervision would not endanger the health or safety of the trainee or any other person, and
(c) the trainee receives directions, demonstrations, training and monitoring appropriate to the work and commensurate with the competence of the trainee, and
(d) immediate remedial action is taken in the event of an emergency that arises from the trainee carrying out the work.
Those obligations spelt out in Clause 15 do in-practice put a limit on the number that can feasibly be supervised (so it’s sort of a performance-based rule), but the actual number will vary depending on whether they’re new trainees requiring direct supervision or if they have progressed to the point where they need less – that’s one of the reasons a prescriptive number is difficult to set in subordinate legislation.
It is also suggested to apply common sense to social distancing and minimise sharing equipment to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We must remember that several years ago under the WorkCover licencing arrangement we used to have a rule of a ratio of one Trainee per licenced Pest Management Technician.
It is something that NSW AEPMA has been trying to get back for sometimes.
The idea was only to stop some of the businesses out there to have only trainees or much more trainees than licenced techs (and fire them at the end of the Pest Control season).
We followed up on another query regarding NPWS’s licensing requirements regarding the harming of native birds.
Problem bird species and the damage they cause includes:
- Common starling – causes damage to fruit (particularly grapes and cherries), vegetable and cereal crops. Implicated in carrying and transmitting diseases to man and other animals.
Shooting of pest birds
- Common myna – causes damage to fruit and grain crops. Communal roosting and nesting habits creates aesthetic and human health concerns. Competes with native species for nest hollows.
- Sulphur-crested cockatoo, little corella- damages ripening sunflower crops, fruit and nut crops.
- Galah – causes damage to germinating cereal crops.
- Sparrow – causes damage to fruit, vegetable, grain and oilseed crops; competes with native species for nest hollows.
- Pigeon – roosting sites cause fouling damage (from build-up of faeces) in urban areas. Implicated in carrying and transmitting diseases to man and other animals. –
- Crows and ravens (corvids) – consume fruits and grains. These birds may prey upon sick, dying or mismothered lambs and can injure sheep
So we put this to NSW EPA and the response is below
If a landholder needs to harm protected native birds on their property, they need a landholder’s licence to harm protected native animals, granted by their local NPWS office.
If someone wants to provide a pest control service covering native birds, they need a general licence to harm protected native animals granted by the NPWS Wildlife Team.
All licences to harm native birds granted by NPWS require compliance with PestSmart’s relevant standard operating procedures (Shooting of pest birds or Trapping of pest birds).
For future reference, general questions about the rules around licences to harm native animals can be emailed to Licence.HarmFauna@environment.nsw.gov.au.
Section 1.6 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) says:
protected animal means an animal of a species listed or referred to in Schedule 5.
Schedule 5 of the BC Act says:
Any of the following that are native to Australia or that periodically or occasionally migrate to Australia (including their eggs and young)—
amphibians—frogs or other members of the class amphibia.
birds—birds of any species.
mammals—mammals of any species (including aquatic or amphibious mammals but not including dingoes).
reptiles—snakes, lizards, crocodiles, tortoises, turtles or other members of the class reptilia.
To find out if a species is native to Australia, search for it in the Atlas of Living Australia and check its ‘Native status’.
Section 2.21 of the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 specifies the exceptions to the above with regards to harming animals:
It is a defence to a prosecution for an offence under section 2.1 of the Act if the person charged establishes that the act that constitutes the offence was causing harm to any of the following species of animal and was not for sporting or recreational purposes—
(a) purple swamphens (Porphyrio porphyrio)—but only if—
(i) the harm is for the purpose of mitigating damage to commercial rice crops, and
(ii) the harm occurs between 1 December and the following 30 April, and
(iii) the harm occurs in the Riverina and Murray Local Land Services regions, and
(iv) the harm does not occur in national park estate and other conservation areas,
(b) Australian raven (Corvus coronoides), forest raven (Corvus tasmanicus), little raven (Corvus mellori), Australian crow (Corvus orru) or little crow (Corvus bennetti)—but only if the harm occurs outside the Greater Sydney Local Land Services region, and outside national park estate and other conservation areas,
(c) sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) or galah (Eolophus roseicapillus)—but only if the harm occurs in the Western, North West, Central West, Riverina and Murray Local Land Services regions, and outside national park estate and other conservation areas.
Of the native species you have listed, only one, the little corella, is protected in all of NSW. The others are only protected in some parts of NSW (see Exceptions or limits to the protection of native animals):
1. sulphur-crested cockatoos and galahs have been declared 'locally unprotected' in the Western, North West, Central West, Riverina and Murray Local Land Services regions (excluding national parks and conservation areas), because of the damage they do to grain and oilseed crops
2. crows and ravens (corvids) are protected only in Greater Sydney Local Land Services region (and national parks and conservation areas) because they are blamed for the deaths of lambs in other areas
If you intend to harm native species in areas where they are protected, you will need a general licence to harm native animals. Please complete the attached form and it back to us for processing.
The emails were referred to the DPI Game Licencing unit for review any additional information.
With reference to the non-native species listed below ( ie Common or Indian Myna and the starling). The NSW Game Hunting Guide provides advice on the type of licence required for many species on both public or private land and references these two. It is available here
To harm native wildlife you can contact the NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment who will advise licencing requirements. They can be emailed at email@example.com. They have information on Licences to harm native animals available on their website.
Invasive Species Officer
Invasive Plants and Animals Unit
Department of Primary Industries
161 Kite Street Orange NSW 2800 | Locked Bag 21 Orange NSW 2800