Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Chemicals and pesticides

Notification of pesticide use near sensitive places

Under the Pesticides Regulation 2009 pest management technicians have obligations to provide notification of pesticide use. When pesticides are to be applied outdoors to a site next door to a sensitive place, notification must be provided to the person responsible for that sensitive place (further details are included below). Notification is based on the principle that the community has the right to know about pesticide treatments close to sensitive places. Once notified, people responsible for sensitive places can then, if they wish, make more informed decisions to reduce the risk of exposure by vulnerable people in their care.

This page answers the following questions about this type of notification, click on a link to go directly to that question:

For what kinds of pest treatments do pest management technicians need to provide notice?

Under the Pesticides Regulation, pest management technicians need to provide at least five working days advance notice to a neighbouring sensitive place when certain outdoor pesticide uses are proposed on an adjoining property.

The notification rules apply to outdoor spraying of pesticides or outdoor injection of liquid pesticides into the ground within 20 metres of any property that has a common boundary with a sensitive place. There is no requirement to give notice of other sorts of pesticide use such as use of solid baits. There is also no requirement to give notice for indoor treatments on adjoining properties.

There are also requirements to give notice of pesticide treatments in common areas of multiple occupancy residential complexes which are outlined in a separate fact sheet (130767FSPestMgmt.pdf, 217KB).

What is a sensitive place?

For this part of the regulation, a sensitive place is any:

  • School or pre-school
  • Kindergarten
  • Childcare centre
  • Community health centre
  • Nursing home.

People who attend these places may be more sensitive to some characteristics of nearby pesticide use than the general population.

What are pesticide management technicians required to do?

The Regulation requires that notice be given if the neighbouring sensitive place can reasonably be identified.

If you are a pest management technician who is unfamiliar with the job site you can commonly identify a sensitive place initially by:

  • Confirming the address of the proposed treatment and ask the person arranging the pesticide application if they are aware of any sensitive places next door or immediately behind the location of the job
  • Checking the location for neighbouring sensitive places using relevant on-line search facilities
  • Checking a current street directory, which usually show the location of schools and nursing homes
  • Carrying out a site inspection, noting the location of surrounding sensitive places.

If there is no sensitive place adjoining the premises where the pesticide treatment is to take place, there are no mandatory neighbour notification requirements.

A neighbouring sensitive place must be notified at least 5 working days in advance of the proposed outdoor pesticide treatment (less notice may be given in an emergency).

What information should be provided to the sensitive place?

Notice should be directed to the person in charge of the neighbouring sensitive place, for example the school principal, director or manager. This notice does not need to be personally addressed.

The notice must include information about:

  • the full name of the pesticide, and
  • the reason why the pesticide is being used (e.g. what pest is being treated), and
  • the proposed date, dates or date range of use, and
  • where the pesticide will be used, and
  • any re-entry requirements that are on the pesticide label or permit, and
  • your contact details or the contact details of your office.

Notice may be delivered in person, by email, fax, letter box drop or by post. Pest management technicians do not need to verify that it has been received but if using the postal system you need to allow extra time for delivery.

Copies of the relevant safety data sheet (SDS) must be provided as soon as practicable, if the person the pest management technicians have provided the notice to requests it.

For example:

The owner of a restaurant located next to a primary school contacts a pest technician by phone to arrange for a treatment around the restaurant's exterior waste collection area. The treatment is for cockroaches and other insect pests. In discussing the prospective job over the phone with the restaurant owner, the owner advises that there is a primary school on one side of the property but is uncertain of their contact details. The pest technician explains that there is a legal obligation to provide them with at least 5 days prior notice. Using a current street directory and an on-line directory, the pest technician establishes the name and contact number of the school and faxes through information about the upcoming pesticide treatment for the attention of the school principal.

Upon receipt of the advance notice, the school principal notes that the proposed application area is remote from classrooms but is relatively close to the school's cricket practice nets. The principal passes this information on to teachers that may use the nets.

What if there is an emergency situation?

Emergencies are considered to be infestations of biting or dangerous pests such as wasps, bees, venomous spiders, rodents and bird mites that may pose health or safety risks to residents. Pest management technicians do not have to provide 5 working days' notice of pesticide treatments made in emergency situations. However, notification must still be provided before the job is undertaken.

Pest management technicians must also note the specific circumstances of the emergency pesticide application in their records.

What happens if these requirements are ignored?

Strict penalties may apply if you are unable to show evidence that concurrent notification, in circumstances required by the Regulation, was provided when applying pesticides. On-the-spot penalty notice fines of $800 for corporations or $400 for individuals may apply. Court imposed fines of up to $44,000 may also apply to more serious offences.

Are these the only circumstances where notice should be provided?

Property managers and pest management technicians also must give notice in relation to treatments of common areas of multiple occupancy residential complexes.

Additionally, apart from mandatory requirements, it is good practice to give notice where you are aware that other types of potentially sensitive populations or residents may be located adjacent to a proposed outdoor pesticide treatment. For example notification may be prudent, where the neighbouring property is a hospital in which areas used by patients are close to the pesticide treatment location.

Where can I get more information?

More information about notification of pesticide use is available online, or you can call Environment Line on 131 555 (cost of a local call).

You may also wish to view the Pesticides Regulation 2009 for the full details of notification requirements.

Fact sheets which provide information for other aspects of pesticide application are also available under Notification of pesticide use.

Page last updated: 03 December 2013