Apply for a cut-flower licence

Find out which licence you need and how to apply for a licence to pick and sell cut-flowers and foliage from wild or cultivate protected plants.

Hairpin banksia (Banksia spinulosa)You need a biodiversity conservation licence granted under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) to pick or cultivate protected plant species for cut flowers and foliage for commercial purposes.

No matter what licence you’re applying for, you’ll need to read and be sure you can comply with the conditions of your licence. It is an offence under the BC Act to breach a condition of a licence.

Licence requirements

Protected plant species that require a licence to be picked or cultivated as cut flowers or foliage are listed in Part 1 of Schedule 6 of the BC Act.

The species listed in Part 1 of Schedule 6 are divided into 4 groups. These groups have different licensing, tagging and monitoring requirements.

Detailed information about licensing requirements for the commercial cut flower industry is included in the Cut-flower Sustainable Management Plan 2018–2022 (CFMP).

Get the right licence

The type of licence you need to harvest or cultivate protected plants for cut flowers and foliage for commercial purposes depends upon where and what you intend to harvest. Answer these two questions to help work out which type of licence you need.

(a) Naturally occurring wild plants See Question 2
(b) Plants I have grown from seed, cuttings, nursery stock, or other non-wild sources and have established as an orchard/crop Grower licence
(a) The land is owned by me Wild Harvester Licence
(b) The land is not owned by me From 1 January 2018, licences to harvest are only issued to land owners
(c) The land is not owned by me and is state forest and I wish to harvest only from species in Groups 1 or 2 of Part 1, Schedule 6 of the BC Act BC Act licence not required, apply for a Forest Products Licence from Forestry Corporation of NSW

Types of licences

There are two types of licence for the commercial use of cut-flowers and foliage:

  • Wild harvester licence
  • Grower licence.

These two licences have different licensing restrictions, tagging, monitoring and record-keeping requirements.

Licence application fees vary depending on the costs to assess, regulate and monitor licensed activities.

If you are undertaking multiple activities you’ll need the relevant licence for each activity. If you plan to carry out multiple activities at the same location, it’s likely you will pay a single licence fee based on the activity with the highest fee. The term will be that of the shortest-term licence.

This licence allows you to harvest particular species of protected plants for cut flowers and foliage for commercial purposes from naturally occurring stands on property you own.

Plants you can pick

A wild harvester licence allows you to pick plant species from Groups 1, 2 and 3 listed in Part 1 of Schedule 6.

This licence does not allow you to pick species listed in Group 4 of Part 1 of Schedule 6 or threatened species listed under Schedules 1 or 2 of the BC Act.

Monitoring

As a wild harvester licence holder, you must establish monitoring plots to help you monitor harvest sustainability and provide harvest data to your local NPWS area office. Monitoring of species in all groups is required and may be done through the provision of accurate geographical coordinates or establishment of a fixed photographic monitoring point.

Tagging

NPWS tags are required for Group 3 species.

Find out more about tagging and how to apply for NPWS tags.

Record keeping

You will need to complete a Harvest Return Sheet (DOC 40KB) with information for each day of harvesting. This must include:

  • date and site of the harvest
  • number of plant parts harvested
  • tag numbers allocated to plants from the site (if applicable)
  • other relevant comments, including product-specific requirements.

Harvest return sheets must be made available for inspection on request and must be submitted annually in an electronic format. No new licences will be granted until all harvest returns are submitted.

Conditions

Licences include binding conditions; it’s important you understand and meet the Wild Harvester (Cut Flower) Licence Conditions (PDF 197KB)

Licence cost and duration

  • $75 for 1 year, including site inspection
  • $50 for renewal, including site inspection
  • $30 for renewal, site inspection not required.

Apply

To apply for a wild harvester licence, download and fill out the Wild Harvester (Cut Flower) Licence Application Form (DOC 66KB)

Applications will be subject to site inspections to verify the availability of species.

Find your local NPWS area office to submit an application or obtain further advice.

Please allow enough time for your application to be assessed. You will be contacted if further information is needed to complete the assessment.

This licence allows you to grow protected and threatened native plants for cut flowers and foliage for commercial purposes. The plants must be propagated from artificially cultivated stock and grown on land you own or occupy.

Plants you can grow

A grower licence allows you to grow all species of protected plants listed in Part 1 of Schedule 6 and threatened species, as long as the source of the plant material can be legally identified.

Tagging

  • Grower tags are required for species in Group 4, and are recommended for species in Groups 1, 2 and 3. Grower tags should include ‘plantation grown’ wording.
  • NPWS tags are compulsory for Group 3 species.
  • NPWS tags may also be purchased where growers are unable to produce their own grower tags.
  • Find out more about tagging and how to apply for NPWS tags.

Record keeping

Licence holders must complete a Harvest Return Sheet (DOC 40KB) and maintain records of the source of all propagating material.

Licensees will need to complete a harvest return sheet with information for each date of harvesting. It must include:

  • date and site of the harvest
  • number of plant parts harvested
  • tag numbers allocated to the plants from the site (if applicable)
  • other relevant comments, including product-specific requirements.

Conditions

Licences include binding conditions; it’s important you understand and meet the Grower Licence Conditions (PDF 196KB).

Licence cost and duration

  • $30 for 1 year
  • $75 for 3 years
  • $100 for 5 years.

Apply

To apply for a Grower Licence, download and fill out the Grower Licence Application Form (DOC 68KB).

Find your local NPWS area office to submit an application or obtain further advice.

Please allow enough time for your application to be assessed. You will be contacted if further information is needed to complete the assessment.

Licences to harvest cut flowers and foliage from naturally occurring plants on land not owned by the licensee (picker licences) are no longer issued (from January 1 2018), in accordance with the 2018-22 CFMP.

Existing picker licences will continue to be valid until they expire.

Under the 2018-22 CFMP, harvesting species in Groups 1 and 2 will continue to be permitted in state forests under a forest products licence granted by the Forestry Corporation of NSW, but a BC Act licence is not required.

Cut-flower licences and species groups

 Cut flower protected plant species group

Licence type Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
State forest exemption Yes Yes No No
Wild Harvester Licence Yes Yes Yes No
Grower Licence Yes Yes Yes Yes
Harvest returns Yes Yes Yes Yes
NPWS tags No No Yes No, unless grower unable to produce tag
Grower tags N/A1 N/A1 N/A1 Yes, not required for waratahs
Example species
  • Grass tree foliage
  • Umbrella fern
  • Curly sedge
  • Gymea lily foliage
  • Mountain moss
  • Boronia (non-threatened species)
  • Flannel flower
  • Gymea lily flower
  • Grass tree flower
  • Waratahs
  • Spear lily

The use of grower tags is encouraged for all grower-produced material.

Tagging

Tagging enables the origin of protected plant cut flowers to be traced to a licensed harvester or grower. Tags also help consumers choose between bush-picked and cultivated plants.

Under the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 it is an offence to breach a requirement of a licence to attach tags to a protected plant.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) tags are required for cut flowers and foliage from all Group 3 species (Part 1 of Schedule 6), whether acquired from the wild or cultivated sources.

NPWS tags are produced by NPWS and are prefixed and numbered so the origin of cut flowers or foliage from protected plants can be traced.

Apply for NPWS tags

NPWS tags cost 20 cents each.

Find your local NPWS area office to apply for NPWS tags or obtain further advice on tagging.

Grower tags are required for all Group 4 (Part 1 of Schedule 6) plant species except waratahs and are recommended for all species produced under grower licences.

Grower tags are printed or written by the grower or a professional industry association. The tags must be made of durable material and provide enough information to trace the product to its origin. Suggested details include species botanical name, the term ‘plantation grown’ and the name of the supplier.

Threatened species

Threatened species and plants from threatened ecological communities, as listed in Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 of the BC Act or the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 must not be harvested from the wild for commercial use. This means you cannot harvest these species under a wild harvester licence.

Threatened species may be harvested from plantation grown (cultivated) plants under a grower licence. In this case applicants must be able to demonstrate that the parent (source/founder) material has been legally acquired.

The picking and cultivation of protected and threatened plant species for research or conservation purposes requires a scientific licence.

Definitions

  • Picking a plant includes to gather, take, cut, remove from the ground, destroy, poison, crush or injure the plant or any part of the plant.
  • A site is defined as a single property held under individual title, or a specific parcel of land managed by a public authority. For example, each state forest is considered a separate property/site.