Pest Licensing Changes for NSW – Our Q&A with the EPA

A dark-haired man sitting at his computer studies for the pest control license NSW

With changes to the requirements of pest control licensing requirements in NSW coming into play in December 2022, Rapid Training has received a range of queries from the industry. Most clients are understandably focused on learning how these changes affect them and what they need to do.

To assist you in understanding NSW pest control licensing and the new requirements, we interviewed a NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) representative to seek answers. We have these below for your top 10 questions regarding pest control licensing in NSW:

I want to enter the pest control industry; what are the licenses available in NSW?

There are five main types of pesticide licenses in NSW. The type of license you need depends on the type of work you carry out when using pesticides, such as:

  • Pest management technician license – If you use pesticides in your work to control pests for fee or reward or for a public authority
  • Fumigator license – If you use fumigants to control pests for fee or reward or for a public authority
  • Training permit – If you are a trainee pest management technician or fumigator
  • Timber pest management technician license – If you treat termites or other timber pests (being phased in for new licensees or existing licensee renewals from 17 December 2023)
  • Ground applicator license – If you provide services that use pesticides (other than fumigants) to control weeds or pests affecting plants or soil

Why do I need to be licensed for pest control in NSW to perform pest control activities?

People who use pesticides as part of their job or business are required to be licensed because it:

  • Ensures your knowledge is up to date
  • Minimises mistakes when pesticides are used
  • Protects workers, their families, the community, trade and the environment from harm

Do I need a Training Permit to perform pest control activities while I am enrolled in an accredited course?

If you wish to undertake fumigation or pest management technician work and do not hold the relevant licence, you may only 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

Training permits will also be needed for timber pest management technician work from 17 December 2023. That is, unless you already have a pest management technician licence, in which case all other trainee requirements must still be followed.

Man discusses general pest treatment for internal spaces

Can you explain the new Timber Pest Licensing requirements?

The new category of timber pest management technician license is for work treating timber pests (such as termites and borers). The license:

  • Recognises that some termiticides are higher risk restricted chemical products that require extra knowledge and skills
  • Ensures technicians have relevant nationally recognised qualifications
  • Brings NSW into line with other states and territories

If you renewed or first got your license on or after 17 December 2021, you will need to upgrade to a timber pest technician license by 17 December 2023. Until 17 December 2023, you can continue treating timber pests with your ‘regular’ pest management technician license.

If you held a pest management technician license before 17 December 2021 and it doesn’t need to be renewed until after 17 December 2023, you can continue undertaking commercial timber pest treatments with that license until it expires. You will then need to upgrade to a timber pest technician license when you renew.

Do I need a pest control license in NSW if I only perform Timber Pest Inspections (no treatment)?

If you are only doing timber pest inspections and not using any pesticides, there is no requirement to hold a licence from the EPA.

However, if you decide to undertake control of termites or other timber pests using pesticides then all the training and licence requirements outlined above will apply.

After working in the pest control industry for 20+ years I have received a letter for the NSW EPA advising I need to upgrade my qualifications. So:

Why do I need to undertake more training for a pest control license in NSW?

The timber pest management technician licence requires that technicians have the nationally recognised training needed to ensure safe and correct use of the pesticides used to control termites and other timber pests.

The new licence type brings NSW into line with similar pest control licence and training requirements already in place in other states and territories. It will also be simpler to work interstate under mutual recognition arrangements.

Timber pest control courses that pre-date the introduction of approved competency-based training have not been approved because they have not been determined as being equivalent under the national vocational education and training system.

Other states and territories also do not directly recognise training that pre-dates the adoption of these competencies.

How can I minimise disruption to my business while completing the additional training?

Experienced technicians may be able to be certified in the current timber pest competencies by seeking recognition of prior learning (RPL). You can get this from a registered training organisation such as Rapid Training. Or, by completing a flexibly delivered course tailored to existing operators.

For workers over 40 funding may be available under the Skills Checkpoint program – see www.verto.org.au/our-services/skills-checkpoint. The EPA has no role in this program, which is funded by the Commonwealth Government.

A blonde-haired woman sitting on her couch with a laptop studies for the pest control license NSW

My qualifications are current; how can I upgrade my licensing to include Timber Pests?

To get a timber pest management technician license, you are required to have an extra nationally recognised qualification in the control of timber pests. This is in addition to your core training.

The latest version of the approved training covers these two competencies:

  • CPPUPM3008 Inspect for and report on timber pests, and
  • CPPUPM3010 Control timber pests

Earlier equivalents of these units are also acceptable for existing license holders.

Various training organisations offer this training to NSW technicians – search the internet for ‘timber pest control training’ or on www.training.gov.au.

How can I find out more about my personal requirements for license renewal?

Contact the NSW EPA to discuss your specific license requirements at:

Phone: 131 555

Email:    [email protected]

Where can I find more information on my day-to-day obligations as a licensed pest technician?

For more information about your day-to-day obligations as a NSW licensed pest technician, visit: https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/pesticides/licences-and-advice-for-occupational-pesticide-users.

How do I apply for my pest control license for NSW?

Applications for all pesticides licenses may be submitted online using eConnect EPA.

To apply for a license, supply:

  • Proof of identity and age (you must be 18 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 2021 is $415, applicable to each license type. You must indicate on the application each pest control license NSW type you are applying for and you will be issued one card for multiple license types.

Note that:

  • The fee can be paid by credit card or EFT.
  • Fees are subject to a Consumer Price Index increase each July.
  • Licenses are awarded to an individual and cannot be awarded to a business or a business name.
  • Licenses are valid for either 1 or 5 years.

Want to discuss your training requirements, including RPL pathways to upgrade your training? Visit our Rapid Training webpages for course details or contact the training team on [email protected] or 1300 309 169.

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