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Local government use of poisons

The new Medicines and Poisons Act (2019) (MPA) replaced the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (HDPR) and the Pest Management Act 2001 from 27 September 2021.

Local governments should take note of the changes and new requirements that apply to the use of S7 poisons and pesticides under the new MPA.

Maintaining authorisations

Local governments whose employees hold approvals under the HDPR to use regulated poisons or undertake pest management activities to control pests under the Pest Management Act 2001 will continue to be authorised until the authorisation expires or is cancelled or amended. Authorisations under the HDPR will transition as closely as possible to the existing authority under the MPA.

Those seeking to deal with restricted S7 (RS7) poisons for baiting of invasive pest animals or undertaking pest management activities will be required to hold an appropriate authorisation under the MPA.

General approvals

Local government officers will be required to hold a general approval or be employed by an entity with a general approval to possess, use, supply or dispose of RS7 poisons (other than low risk fluoroacetic acid baits (LRFABs)) for the purposes of invasive animal control. This includes fluoroacetic acid concentrate to make fresh meat baits.

Competency requirements for the control of invasive animals are prescribed in the Departmental standard - Competency requirements for authority holders dealing with poisonser (PDF 278 kB).

Apply for a general approval

To apply for a general approval, use Poisons general approval forms and fees.

There are no fees associated with obtaining a general approval.

Entity level approvals

If local governments are intending to manufacture fresh LRFABs they may apply for a general approval under the MPA. Such approvals may be granted as an entity level approval for local governments.

Under an entity level approval, the local government will be responsible for ensuring that conditions under the Medicines and Poisons (Poisons and Prohibited Substances) Regulation 2021 (the Poisons Regulation) and general approval such as storing, applying, disposal and transporting RS7 poisons safely and securely to prevent unauthorised access are complied with.

Substance management plans (SMPs)

Local governments who hold an entity approval may be required to have a substance management plan (SMP) if they intend to hold more than a total of 100g of undiluted RS7s at any one time.

The Departmental standard - Substance management plans for regulated poisons (PDF 283 kB) provide details on the requirements for SMPs.

As previously, local governments will be able to supply S7 herbicides to land holders for weed control. The Poisons Regulation has classified local governments as Approved Persons for this activity.

Dealing with low risk fluoroacetic acid baits (LRFABs)

LRFABs are fresh or APVMA registered manufactured baits with concentration of fluoroacetic acid no more than 0.05%. The concentration allowable in manufactured or fresh baits has been increased from 0.03% to 0.05% on the basis of a health risk assessment.

The Poisons Regulation classifies authorised officers under the Biosecurity Act 2014 as Approved Persons and authorises them to possess, apply and dispose LRFABs on land managed by the relevant state department or local government.

Approved Persons are authorised on the basis of their competency and training to deal with LRFABs without the requirement for a specific approval under the MPA.

The authorised officers may also supply LRFABs to landholders to approved persons (see table below) to carry out baiting activities on landholder’s property or as part of the coordinated baiting programs. Chapter 3 of the Poisons Regulation details requirements for supplying low risk fluoroacetic acid baits to a landholder as part of a coordinated baiting programs.

Approved persons - rural landholders table

Approved Person Scope of activityRequirementsLimitations

Rural landholder

Authorised to possess, apply (use), dispose (of waste) from LRFABs

LRFABs (baits containing fluoroacetic acid in a concentration of not greater than 0.5 grams for each kilogram of bait – equivalent to 0.6 grams of 1080 for each kilogram of bait)

  • LRFABs obtained from a person authorised under the Biosecurity   Act 2014 or Nature Conservation Act 1992 for the control of   invasive animals.
  • On land in a rural area (not in an urban area within the meaning   of the Planning Regulation 2017)

Adult employee or agent of a landholder

Authorised to possess, apply (use), dispose (of waste) from LRFABs

LRFABs (baits containing fluoroacetic acid in a concentration of not greater than 0.5 grams for each kilogram of bait – equivalent to 0.6 grams of 1080 for each kilogram of bait)

  • LRFABs obtained from a person authorised under the Biosecurity   Act 2014 or Nature Conservation Act 1992 for the control of   invasive animals.
  • On land in a rural area (not in an urban area within the meaning   of the Planning Regulation 2017)

Local government officers who are authorised under the MPA to deal with RS7 poisons for invasive animal control, landholders and other authority holders must comply with the Departmental standard - Dealing with restricted S7 poisons for invasive animal control (PDF 441 kB).

Pest management activities

There has been no change to the exempted pest management activities that may be carried out by local governments. Pest control activities carried out by Council ground maintenance officers at sporting grounds and parks owned by the Council will not require a pest control licence.

There are also no changes to the authorised person provisions under the Public Health Act 2005 regarding mosquito control activities conducted as part of a prevention and control program.

Local Government Officers (LGOs) who carry out pest control (outside of sports and recreational parks) and fumigation activities will continue to be required to hold a pest management licence. Additional categories of pest management licence (e.g. pest bird control) have been introduced and have specific competency requirements.

Certain pest management activities such as fumigation activities will require activity risk management plans (ARMP). The Medicines and Poisons (Pest Management Activities) Regulation 2021 provides for details to be included in an ARMP. Guidelines and templates will be available to support in the preparation of ARMPs.

Competency requirements for a pest management licence are prescribed in the Departmental standard - Competency requirements for licensed technicians undertaking pest management activities with pesticides and fumigants (PDF 272 kB).

Related information

Departmental standards

Last updated: 24 September 2021