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Horticulture businesses

Persons (entities and their employees) who use poisons or carry out pest control activities at facilities used for horticulture businesses (such as recreational or sporting facilities) are affected by the change in legislation from 27 September 2021. This includes workers such as:

  • a garden centre worker using pesticides to control insects on plants for sale
  • a groundskeeper employed by a sporting club who applies pesticides as part of ground maintenance.

Primary producers, including production nurseries, fruit and vegetable growers have their own page.


Prior to 27 September 2021, the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (HDPR) and Pest Management Act 2001 were applicable to the use of agricultural chemicals in Queensland. From 27 September 2021, these have been replaced by the Medicines and Poisons Act 2019 (the MPA).

The main objective of the MPA is to manage risks to public health from the use of regulated substances for industrial, agricultural and domestic purposes. The MPA has integrated the HDPR and Pest Management Act 2001 into a single regulatory system

Pest management under the MPA

The MPA only applies to pest animals and not pest plants or plant diseases. Therefore, the MPA applies to the use of pesticides and fumigants as defined by the MPA but not the use of fungicides or herbicides.


The MPA requires individuals carrying out pest management activities to hold a pest control or fumigation licence.

While the exemption for pest control activities by primary producers and horticulturists remain, commercial contractors providing such services are required to be authorised under the MPA.

This means that employees of the horticultural businesses are not required to hold a pest management licence, for pest control activities being carried out at their employer’s premises.

Applying for a licence

Apply for a pest management licence by using Pest management application forms and fees.

Please refer to the Fact sheet – Poisons and Pest Management for Horticulture Businesses (excluding Primary Producers) (PDF 297 kB) for more information.

Outsourcing activities and approved persons

If the horticulture business contracts out pest control activities to a commercial operator, the person applying the pesticide must hold an appropriate pest management licence unless they are an approved person under the MPA.

Approved person is a person prescribed under schedule 1 of the Medicines and Poisons (Pest Management Activities) Regulation 2021 and has the relevant competency or training to carry out the specific pest management activity without a licence. However, they will be required to comply with provisions in the Regulation.

If a fumigation activity is required, a licenced pest management technician must be employed to undertake this activity. However, horticulturalists who are also primary producers may carry out the fumigation activity on their own property without requiring a licence.

Horticulture sector - Exempted and approved persons provides the scope of activities, and requirements including limitations for exempted and approved persons.

Use of poisons

S7 substances (including herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, and fumigants) used in horticulture must only be purchased from licenced S7 retailers or wholesalers who are licensed under the MPA. The use of such poisons is limited to workplace use.




S7 substance

(a) an S7 poison; or

(b) a fumigant or pesticide containing a substance to which the Poison Standard, schedule 7 applies.


A person producing or storing horticultural products

Exempted persons

Exempted persons

Scope of pest management activity



Horticulture businesses and their agents (includes employees and volunteers)

Applying pesticides (including rodenticides) on plants, on land, or at premises owned or occupied by the horticulture business.

Refer to sections 14, 19 and schedule 1 (Dictionary) of the Medicines and Poisons Act for the definition of pesticides.


Does not apply to the use of 1080, strychnine or Para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP). An approval is required.

Approved persons

An approved person is authorised to carry out the pest management activity without a pest management licence provided they have the specified competency or licence. They will be required to comply with provisions in the Medicines and Poisons (Pest Management Activities) Regulation 2021.

Approved person

Scope of pest management activity



Commercial fee for service operators working in primary production and


On farm ground spraying of pesticides on crops and horticulture produce

Licensed as a commercial operator under the Agricultural Chemicals Distribution Control Act 1966

Applies to all areas within the state.

Does not apply to laying baits, for example, rodent baits or fumigation activities. These activities require a licensed pest management technician.

Persons (employees) working in post-harvest facilities (e.g. packing sheds)

Spraying of, or immersion in, pesticides of harvested agricultural or horticultural produce

Core pesticide competencies AHCCHM304 & AHCCHM307


Supervised pesticide competency AHCCHM201. Person supervising should have PMT licence

Does not apply to laying baits e.g. rodent baits or fumigation. These activities require a licensed pest management technician.

Last updated: 24 September 2021