Codes of practice

Some activities no longer require a licence and are now covered under a regulatory code of practice.

We are applying a risk-based approach to regulating activities under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 to reduce administrative burdens and modernise and streamline regulation. Part of this involves introducing enforceable codes of practice, a regulatory tool that can authorise activities that would otherwise be an offence under the Biodiversity Conservation Act. Their creation means that some previously licensed lower-risk activities would no longer require a biodiversity conservation licence, and instead, these activities are authorised through a code.

What is a regulatory code of practice?

The Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 allows for the creation of codes of practice relating to animals or plants as a defence to prosecution of an offence under the Biodiversity Conservation Act. Codes of practice set out the compliance and management requirements for activities involving protected wildlife.

The Biodiversity Conservation Regulation permits codes of practice to impose registration and record keeping obligations to the department on those registered to a code of practice. To comply with a code of practice, a person must abide by its terms. Penalties may apply for non-compliance.

Why are codes of practice being introduced?

One of the objectives of the Biodiversity Conservation Act is to apply a risk-based approach to regulating human interactions with wildlife. Implementing codes of practice will allow the department to regulate lower-risk human-wildlife interactions with codes of practice instead of licensing.

Codes of practice have benefits, including reducing administration and compliance costs for the people of New South Wales and the department. This will enable the department to concentrate efforts on higher-risk activities.

Children's python (Antaresia childreni) curled around a tree branch

Activities that will remain licensed

Activities that involve varying levels of increased risk will continue to be managed and assessed under a biodiversity conservation licence.

These activities require licensing to effectively manage conservation threats and harm to wildlife populations, animal welfare, and human health and safety.

Ongoing record keeping requirements apply for these activities to support monitoring programs.

Before implementing changes to existing wildlife licence classes, the department will notify relevant applicants and licence holders if they:

  • have applied but no longer need a licence
  • currently have a licence but are eligible to transition to an enforceable code of practice.

Until a final code of practice is adopted for an activity, all wildlife activities requiring a biodiversity conservation licence remain in place.

Long-billed corella (Cacatua tenuirostris)

Activities that remain exempt from regulation

The Biodiversity Conservation Regulation has retained existing exemptions for:

  • mitigating damage to crops by native birds
  • keeping and dealing in 41 species of captively-bred native birds, for example, various parrot species and budgerigars – these birds remain exempt from the requirement to hold an animal keeper licence and codes of practice regulation.