Licensing of plants and animals
Information about native plant and animals under the Nature Conservation Act 2014 including licence applications.
Do I need a Licence?
Under Chapter 6 of the Nature Conservation Act 2014 it is an offence to conduct activities in relation to native species (Flora and Fauna). However, some activities may be carried out under a licence issued by the Conservator of Flora and Fauna. It is the responsibility of the applicant to apply for licences for proposed activities that may be an offence under the Act.
- Animal Licence Holder Responsibilities
- Nature Conservation (Exempt Animals) Declaration 2019
- Reptile Policy
Changes to licences for keeping non-native animals
An information paper on the 2019 Exempt Animals Declaration explains the declaration and lists the animals that have been recently removed from the declaration. If you keep these animals, you will now require a licence.
Please contact Licensing and Compliance on 02 6207 6376 for more information.
Protected Plants and Animals
The ACT is home to a number of rare or threatened flora and fauna. The protection of habitat in the ACT is one of the most important ways to help threatened plants and animals survive.
Seed and Plant Collection for Commercial Purposes
It is an offence to collect seeds and plants from unleased land without a licence under The Nature Conservation Act 2014. Any collection of seeds or plants for purposes other than Scientific study is usually considered Commercial and a fee applies.
You are required to supply a detailed list of every proposed species you would like to collect and the maximum amounts.
If a licence is approved you are required to keep records of all plant material collected on this spreadsheet.
Licence to Keep / Sell / Import / Export Non-Exempt Animal
The keeping of some wildlife including reptiles is an offence in the ACT unless a licence is held under the Nature Conservation Act 2014 authorising the activity. The application process considers the suitability of the applicant, relevant regulations and policies for the keeping of non-exempt species under legislation.
All licensed native animal keepers are required to maintain an ACT Record Book worksheet and lodge it prior to renewal or at the end of the licence period.
The worksheet may also be requested by a Conservation Officer as per licence conditions.
Take and release venomous reptiles
It is an offence to take and release Venomous Reptiles in the ACT without a licence.
Because of the significant risks involved, to obtain a licence you must be covered by Public Liability Insurance of $20 million, have a Current First Aid Qualification and must have participated in a venomous snake handling course.
Commercial Pest Controllers Possum Removal Licence Application
It is an offence to take and release native animals without a licence.
A licence can be issued to Commercial Pest Controllers to take and release possums within 50 metres of the capture site.
Scientific or commercial licence
Under the Nature Conservation Act 2014 it is an offence to undertake various activities including taking native plants, damaging native trees, taking fallen native timber, selling native plants and importing/exporting native plants.
A licence may be issued under Chapter 11 of the Nature Conservation Act 2014 authorising the licensee to carry out one or more activities that would otherwise be an offence under this Act.
Pet Shop Licences
Pet shops in the ACT are required to have a licence to sell, import and keep non-exempt animals under the Nature Conservation Act 2014.
Certain animals such as ferrets, birds, axolotls and frogs can be sold to licenced people. For further information on species able to be sold please contact Licensing and Compliance 02 6207 6376.
A licence is required for pet shops that import or export live fish under the fisheries act.
Apply for a licence to import/export live fish.
Registration for bee hives
Canberra beekeepers are required to register their hives, effective Monday 23 May 2016, under Amendments to the Animal Diseases Act 2005. This helps the ACT Government easily identify and contact beekeepers in the event of any possible outbreak of bee-related disease.
Registration is free and valid for three years and can be done one using the online registration form. Both commercial and non-commercial operators need to register, unless they have already registered in NSW.
Registered beekeepers are also asked to adhere to the Code of Practice for Beekeeping in Residential Areas; maintain a record of movement or sale or disposal of beehives; and promptly notify the ACT Chief Veterinary Office of any signs of a notifiable disease.
Bird and Bat Banding Under the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme
Only bird and bat banders with a current licence issued under the Nature Conservation Act 2014 can legally undertake banding activities in the ACT. The Australian Bird and Bat Banding Authority is a separate authority granted by Environment Australia, a Commonwealth Government agency.
'A' class banders must submit applications as detailed above and include a copy of their current bird banding authority.
'C' class banders must submit, where possible, a list of the projects they anticipate that they will be working on and the 'A' class bird or bat bander who is responsible for each project. A copy of your current 'C' class banding authority must also be included.
'R' class banders must submit details of the project they will be working on and the 'A' class bird or bat bander who is responsible for that project. A copy of your current 'R' class banding authority must also be included.
Applications under the Fisheries Act 2000
The Fisheries Act 2000 intends to conserve and manage native fish species and their habitats and to cooperate with other Australian jurisdictions in sustaining fisheries and protecting native fish species.
An import and export licence authorises the import of live fish into and export live fish from the ACT.
A Scientific Licence authorises the activity of taking fish for scientific or teaching purposes.
- Apply for a licence to import/export fish.
- Apply for a licence to take fish for scientific or teaching purposes.
For more information contact Licensing and Compliance on 02 6207 6376.
Compliance and Quarantine Services
Public assistance is required in the reporting of compliance matters regarding our nature reserves, national parks, and the illegal keeping or trapping of fauna. These matters include activities such as:
- unauthorised access by vehicles to nature reserves and national parks
- illegal fishing activities including undersized fish and the illicit trade
- taking of plants or wood from reserved areas
- keeping or trapping of native animals
Licensing and Compliance provide information, inspections and assistance regarding interstate plant transfers, animal and plant diseases, bee swarms, or other related issues.
To report any law enforcement issues concerning wildlife matters or nature reserves please contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.