We issue several types of scientific licence for activities such as research, surveying, education, collecting seeds, bush regeneration and ecological burns.
Licences help us protect and maintain our protected native plant and animal populations as well as make sure people working with them have the experience and knowledge to work responsibly.
When you need a licence
You may need a scientific licence under Part 2 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 for a research, education or conservation project that is likely to:
- harm protected native animals or an animal that is a threatened species or part of an endangered population or a threatened ecological community – this does not include invertebrates (except threatened species), or fish as defined under the Fisheries Management Act 1994
- harm protected plants or a plant that is a threatened species or part of an endangered population or a threatened ecological community
- involve the collection of protected plant specimens or seeds, pick cuttings or whole plants
- damage critical habitat
- damage a habitat of a threatened species, an endangered population or a threatened ecological community
- involve research anywhere in the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) reserve system.
Types of licences
We issue a number of different scientific licences that have different terms and conditions.
Use of wildlife and other animals for scientific purposes including research, teaching and environmental studies, is likely to need approval from an animal ethics committee.
If your research involves animals, you may need to meet animal ethics obligations under the Animal Research Act 1985 and the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes. If this is the case, a scientific licence will be valid only once ethics approval has been granted.
When you apply for a scientific licence, please submit your animal ethics application form at the same time, as well as any approval received. If you do not or cannot submit it at the time of application, we may ask for it later.
More information is available on the Animal Ethics InfoLink website.
When you don’t need a licence
If you work outside the NPWS reserve system, you may not need a scientific licence so long as your work falls into the following categories:
- working with introduced species
- working with invertebrates, except those listed either individually or as part of a declared threatened ecological community in the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act)
- working with fish as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1994
- working with non-protected plants (all species other than those listed in Schedules 1, 2, 3 or 6 of the BC Act).
You do not need a scientific licence if:
- activities are approved under development consents and reviews of environmental factors
- activities are authorised via an existing licence or approval, such as licences issued under Part 2 of the BC Act.
Even if you don't need a scientific licence, you may still need animal ethics approval, fisheries approvals, landowner consent and planning approvals before you start your project.
More details and help
Read our scientific licensing policy for more details.
If you are still unsure of whether you need a scientific licence or the right type to apply for, email the Wildlife Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 9585 6406.
Please read details of how to apply before submitting your application.