As part of enacting nationally agreed pesticide reforms in NSW, some amendments to the NSW Pesticides Act 1999 have been proposed. The Pesticides Amendment Bill 2014 has been passed by the NSW Legislative Assembly and is awaiting consideration by the NSW Legislative Council.

The proposed amendments:
Establish a legal framework in NSW for progressively implementing nationally agreed pesticide reforms.

Consolidate licensing at a single point by transferring the licensing of urban pest management technicians and fumigators from WorkCover NSW to the EPA in line with the national reforms and the term ‘certificate of competency’ will be replaced by the term ‘licence’ This will reduce regulatory complexity for these operators.

From 1 July 2015 license fees will incur a 2.5% indexation increase.

Require the EPA to keep a register of licences which will be made available to the public, similar to that already required for other occupational licences in NSW.

Aerial licences will no longer have an indefinite duration but instead will need to be renewed after five years. All existing aerial licences will have a five year duration from the date when the legislative changes come into effect.

Improve protection for NSW landholders by clarifying that the existing offences of causing damage to another person’s property through pesticides misuse can include overspray that prevents a property’s current agricultural use. For example, agricultural spray drift of 2,4-D herbicide may prevent safe grazing of livestock for up to ten days on some pastures, but currently this may not be construed as damage.

Extend existing offence provisions regarding on-premises harm to companion animals to better protect working dogs and household pets from negligent poisoning by contractors and third parties.
Allow for enforceable undertakings as an alternative to court action and improve and update various administrative provisions of the Act.

When will the changes come into effect?
This depends on when the Pesticides Amendment Bill is passed by Parliament, however the amendments to the offence provisions of the Act will come into effect no earlier than 1 July 2015 to give the EPA sufficient time to communicate the changes to all stakeholders.

(Adapted from