The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has developed new regulations for the control of aerial application of agricultural chemical products.
The new Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (Aerial Application) Regulations 2018 are under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 and relate to the aerial application of agricultural chemicals.
The old Aerial Spraying Control Act 1966 and the Aerial Spraying Control Regulations 1971 have been repealed.
Key outcomes include:
- awareness of the need to use chemicals safely and responsibly for both piloted and remotely piloted aircraft
- users are competent in the aerial application of agricultural chemicals and can demonstrate competency through training
- national training competencies or equivalent reflect the required management of agricultural chemical risk.
Outline of the new regulations
The central provision is a regulation providing that a person must not apply an agricultural chemical product from an aircraft unless they have the qualifications prescribed by the regulations or an approved equivalent.
The qualification required for both piloted and remotely piloted aircraft is the Aerial Application Association of Australia, Spraysafe Agricultural Pilot Course; or equivalent. There are also transitional arrangements that provide 3 years for currently authorised pilots to update their qualifications, if required.
An exception to the requirement for the Spraysafe Agricultural Pilot qualification will be for a land owner, who owns a remotely piloted aircraft (up to 150kg) and only operates it over their own land. In this case, the remote pilot will require the following units of competency:
There is a provision for the Director General to exempt from the requirements of the regulations a person applying a specified agricultural chemical product or type of agricultural chemical product (for example registered 1080 meat baits).
The following records are to be kept of each application of agricultural chemical product. These are to be kept for 3 years and to be available for inspection if requested by an inspector:
- the date and time the product was applied
- the name and address of the person who applied the product
- the name and address of the owner or occupier of the land to which the product was applied
- the total area of the land on which the product was applied
- the location of the land
- the estimated velocity and the direction of the wind at the time of the application
- the name of the product that was applied
- the quantity and concentration of the agricultural chemicals applied per hectare
- the application equipment used
- the type of crops on which the product was applied.
The application records are to be made not more than 48 hours after use and can be in written or electronic form.
Reductions in red tape
The new regulations streamline requirements and reduce red tape by removing the old requirements for:
- annual licencing
- compulsory insurance
- sending copies of all application records to the department and
- removal of references to hazardous areas.
It is also noted that operators, pilots and remote pilots must meet the requirements of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, who regulate Australian aviation safety.