Commercial Operator's Licence - Herbicides - Queensland


Generally, if you intend carrying out ground distribution of herbicides from designated ground equipment on land that you do not own or occupy, you most likely will need to obtain a commercial operator's licence. Factors that can determine whether you need a licence include the type of ground equipment you are using and whether you are carrying out the ground distribution in a declared hazardous area. You will need to check with the Department Customer Service Centre for precise advice. Contact details are provided in the contact list at the end of this summary sheet.

There are circumstances under the Agricultural Chemicals Distribution Control Act 1966 where a defence to a charge of an offence of distributing herbicides without a licence exist. These circumstances are where you are operating the ground equipment on:

  • land owned or occupied by you
  • land owned or occupied by your relative. A relative, as defined in the Act, can be a spouse, son or daughter, father, mother, brother or sister, grandparent or grandchild
  • land owned or occupied by your employer who is primarily engaged in pastoral or agricultural pursuits (genuine livestock or crop production, including amenity horticulture) and you are bound by a contract of service that is primarily for work other than the ground distribution in question. Note: a licence would be required if the primary purpose for engaging your services was to undertake the particular ground distribution in question.
  • unallocated state land, a reserve or a road under the Land Act 1994 that adjoins the land mentioned in the first three dot points above, provided you also have the permission of the entity that holds or controls the unallocated state land, reserve or road.

Note: A licence is however required in the above situations if you wish to apply certain restricted herbicides in a hazardous area.

The Act recognises certain qualifications of pest management technicians holding a pest management technicians licence under the Pest Management Act 2001 (licensed, qualified PMTs) as sufficient to enable these people to carry out ground distribution of herbicides, without the need to hold a commercial operators licence. A licensed, qualified PMT does not need to hold a commercial operators licence under the ACDC Act to carry out ground distribution if holding the following relevant pest management qualification.

A Statement of Attainment issued by a registered training organisation under the Training and Employment Act 2000 or similar legislation in another State stating that the licensed, qualified PMT has successfully completed each of the following competencies (or their previous, equivalent versions):

  • CPPPMT3005 modify environment to manage pests;
  • CPPPMT3006 apply pesticides to manage pests; and
  • CPPPMT3018 maintain an equipment and consumables storage area.

A licensed, qualified PMT is automatically taken to hold a commercial operators licence to carry out ground distribution of herbicides. However, any ground distribution the licensed, qualified PMT undertakes may only be carried out in the course of the business of, at the direction of or on the authority of a licensed ground or aerial distribution contractor.

Service type


A licence defines the need to obtain recognition / certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity.

Eligibility requirements

You must hold the approved accreditation which requires you to hold the following:

  • Statements of Attainment issued by a registered training organisation (RTO) registered under the Training and Employment Act 2000 or
  • similar legislation of another State, certifying competency at Australian Qualifications Framework level 3, with respect to the following national units of competency (or their previous equivalent versions):
    1.   AHCCHM303 - Prepare and apply chemicals
    2.   AHCPMG301 - Control weeds
    3.   AHCCHM304 - Transport and store chemicals.

If you are seeking a licence and hold the approved accreditation, you will need to provide a certified copy of your three Statements of Attainment issued by an RTO.


Licences are issued for one or three years, nominated by the applicant at time of application. A licensee may apply to renew their licence 60 days prior to the expiry date shown on their licence for a further one or three year term.



Task Business Structure Resources
Common All Commercial Operator's Licence (Opens in new window)

Application process

You can obtain this licence by submitting a completed and signed 'Commercial Operator's Licence - Licence Application Form' to Biosecurity Queensland, address given on the application. The necessary application forms and information can be obtained from the Customer Service Centre.

You must be at least 17 years of age to hold a commercial operator's licence.

You cannot apply for the licence unless you hold the qualification. If you make application and pay the correct fee, the application will be considered and a licence will either be granted or refused. Nothing more is required of you if your application is in order and complete.

Licences are generally issued within three weeks of receiving an application that is in order and complete.


This licence cannot be transferred.

Administering agency

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Biosecurity Queensland

Plant Biosecurity and Product Integrity

Contact details

Contact Email, Phone and Address Details for this service in simple two column table format, header then data.

Please use these contact details for help or more information:

Biosecurity Queensland

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Mailing address: GPO Box 46
Queensland 4001
Phone: 13 25 23