A Guide for the Control over the Possession, Trade and Movement of Declared Pest Animals
Note Number: LC0303
Published: June 1998
Updated: October 2010
On the 1 October 2010, declarations within the provisions of the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 came into effect which classified certain animals into pest animal categories depending on the threat that particular types of animals pose primary production, Crown land, the environment or community health. These declarations replace those of 13 February 1997.
Invasive animals threaten Victorian parks, forests, waterways, biodiversity and land asset values. They cause a range of serious problems through impacts on one or more of the environment, economic activity, social values or human health.
Invasive animals are non-native (introduced) species that are, or have the potential to become, established in the wild through escape from captivity and domestication, deliberate or accidental release and accidental or illegal importation.
Everyone has a role to play – by working together, government, industry and the community can best protect Victoria from invasive animals.
The need for control
The main legislation covering invasive plant and animal management in Victoria is the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 (CaLP Act). Under this Act species of plants and animals can be declared as noxious weeds and pest animals.
One of the main objectives of the CaLP Act is to protect primary production, Crown land, the environment and community health from the effects of pest animals. Over millions of years of isolation Australian ecosystems have developed complex and unique inter-relationships. The introduction of new species into these ecosystems has had major impacts. In the two hundred years since European settlement, many species of pest animals have become established due to deliberate or accidental releases.
The harmful effects of animals such as rabbits, foxes, wild dogs, feral goats and feral pigs cost many millions of dollars each year in lost production and degradation of the environment. Further millions are spent by landholders and government authorities in attempts to minimise the impacts of these pests. These costs could have been avoided if the species had not been allowed to establish in the first place.
Declaration of pest animals
Section 58 (1)(b) of the CaLP Act provides that, upon the Minister's recommendation, the Governor in Council may, by Order published in the Government Gazette, declare an animal to be a Prohibited pest animal, Controlled pest animal, Regulated pest animal or an Established pest animal for the whole or a specified part of Victoria.
An Order was published on 1 October 2010 (Victorian Government Gazette Number S399) declaring the animal species under their respective pest animal categories.
The Order only includes mammal, reptile and amphibian species that did not occur naturally in the wild prior to European settlement. The Order does not include any bird species.
* The Dingo is no longer declared to be an Established pest animal. The Dingo is a threatened species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and as a result is protected wildlife under the Wildlife Act 1975. For more information on Dingoes, contact the Department of Sustainability and Environment at www.dse.vic.gov.au or the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
New pest animal threats
The efforts to control established pest animals continue, however it is vital that we act to minimise the chances of new species becoming established. The accidental or deliberate release of pest animals into the wild could cause significant environmental and economic damage as well as threatening public health and safety.
DEPI urges people to report any unusual animals go to our How to report a high risk invasive animal sighting page.
There are many pest animal species which pose an unacceptable risk due to their ability to adapt to Australian environmental conditions, and their breeding capacity. These species - such hedgehogs, hamsters, weasels and most boa, toad, squirrel and non-native rat and mouse species - are prohibited in Victoria.
Pest animal permits
The importation, keeping, selling or releasing of declared pest animals without a permit is illegal and penalties apply. DPI recognises that in some instances these activities can be conducted in a manner that minimises the threat they pose. Under the CaLP Act, DPI may grant permits to import, keep, sell or release declared pest animals for specific purposes and under particular conditions.
Purposes for which pest animal permits may be granted include research and education, animal display and exhibition, and limited commercial purposes. The keeping of pest animals as household pets is not permitted under the CaLP Act.
To ensure the animal’s long term health, wellbeing and security permit applicant must consider any relevant Codes of Practice under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, and provide evidence that all of the requirements for the management of the species can be met. Any application for a pest animal permit will be assessed on the information provided.
If granted, a permit details the species and maximum number that can be kept. It is not a blanket approval to keep pest animals. A new permit must be applied for and granted before a permit holders may obtain any animals or species that are not specified on their existing permit. Pest animal permits are not transferable between people or locations.
Pest animal permits are subject to conditions imposed when the permit is granted. Conditions will vary between permit types and individual permits, and will direct that animals are kept in humane, appropriately secure situations by persons that are likely to be able to ensure the continued safekeeping of these animals. It is an offence to contravene any permit conditions.
DPI requires permit holders to maintain records to assist in monitoring pest animal possession and trade. This helps to guard against illegal trade in pest animal species and allows DPI to take action in response to animal diseases.
In addition to compliance with the conditions of a pest animal permit issued under the CaLP Act, a permit holder must comply with any relevant State or Federal legislation, Local Laws and any other requirements of the local government body.
A pest animal permit may be revoked if the permit holder contravenes the Wildlife Act 1975, the CaLP Act or the conditions of their permit.
Permits are not required for some non-native animals – including fish and invertebrates, and animals which are widely kept as domestic animals, pets or farm animals – which are not covered by the CaLP Act.
For more information on Pest Animal Permits contact the Customer Service Centre on 136 186, or the: Pest Animal Permit Administration Officer, PO Box 124 Benalla Victoria 3672.
* Pest animal permits will not be granted to persons under the age of 18.
Import and export of pest animals
The importation or exportation of pest animals into or out of Victoria will not be considered by the DPI until it has received authorisation from the relevant State or Territory under which the animal is held or is to be sent. The obtaining of this authorisation is the responsibility of the Victorian permit applicant or permit holder.
This Information Note was originally developed by Ross Williamson.
It was reviewed by: Ross Williamson, June 1998. Stuart Lardner DPI & Keith Larner DSE, March 2007. Keith Larner DSE, August 2009. Bronwen Williams DPI, October 2010
Published and Authorised by:
Department of Environment and Primary Industries
1 Spring Street
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