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Overview of relevant legislation in NSW


In NSW the responsibility for pest animal control falls on the land owners and land managers who occupy both public and private land. All plans for controlling these species should be conducted within the guidelines for humane pest animal controls. It is important that all people involved in pest animal management are aware of the legislative framework in which they operate. A non-exhaustive summary of the more relevant NSW legislation is provided here. This information does not constitute legal advice and further information should be obtained from a legal professional.

Rural Lands Protection Act 1998

Enables the Minister

  • to proclaim an animal as a pest, via a Pest Control Order. This order may direct control methods in order to minimise the pest impact on either agriculture or the local environment;
  • Applicable to owners, occupiers and managers of private and public land;
  • Enables Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) officers to enter land, with prior notice, in order to assess compliance or undertake necessary work to ensure compliance;
  • Declared pest animals: rabbits, wild dogs, feral pigs, some locusts and for a trial period foxes in Northern New England.

Pesticides Act 1999

  • Administered by the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC), controls the use of pesticides after the point of sale;
  • Use of pesticides requires competency based training to AQF III level;
  • AQF III training details legal obligations eg use, storage, records, labels etc;
  • Classified pesticides include 1080, RHDV and CSSP.

National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974

  • A licence is required to liberate any animal in NSW, other than homing pigeons or those native to NSW;
  • Introduced animals such as foxes, feral cats and goats are listed as unprotected, occupiers of land are not obliged to control them.

Threatened Species Act 1995

  • Lists endangered and vulnerable species, populations and communities and associated threatening processes;
  • Pest animal impacts may constitute a threatening process;
  • Pest animal control may impact on endangered and vulnerable species, populations and communities.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979

  • Intent is to provide for the care, humane treatment and welfare of animals;
  • Determines that a person must not set, or possess with the intent to use for animal trapping, a steel jawed trap;
  • Use of dogs is not prohibited for detecting, flushing or holding pest animals.

Game and Feral Animal Control Act 2002

  • Defines a game animal (such as deer) and associated hunting licence for private and public land;
  • General (G) licence is required for hunting deer on private and public land;
  • Restricted (R) licence is required for hunting pest rabbits, foxes, cats, dogs and pigs on public land;
  • Game animal definition excludes any animal listed as a endangered or vulnerable species, populations or communities under the Threatened Species Act 1995 or protected fauna under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Further legislation that may be applicable:

Companion Animals Act 1998.

Deer Act 2006.

Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act1999 (Cwlth).

Local Government Act 1998.

Non-Indigenous Animals Act 1987.

Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000.


Croft, D., Lane, C., 2007. Vertebrate Pest control manual, legislative and policy requirements for pest animal management. NSW DPI, Orange

NSW DPI, 2008. Invasive Species Plan 2008 2015. NSW DPI, Orange

Chemcert, 2007. National Training Resource. ChemCert (NSW) Ltd accessed Jan Feb 2009

Codes of practice

Codes at:

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