Licences to harm kangaroos

How to apply for a licence to harm kangaroos, wallaroos and wallabies.

Kangaroos, wallaroos and wallabies (collectively referred to here as kangaroos) are protected in NSW by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act).

It is an offence to harm (including kill, injure or capture) a kangaroo or attempt to harm a kangaroo (including hunt, pursue or use anything for the purpose of harming) without a licence.

If you intend to harm protected animals other than kangaroos, you will need to use a different application form. See licence to harm protected native animals other than kangaroos.

Changes to licences to harm kangaroos

The NSW Government has approved new licence conditions to harm kangaroos to reduce kangaroo numbers due to the drought.

The changes are intended to assist landholders manage the impact of kangaroos during the drought while maintaining animal welfare standards and ecologically sustainable kangaroo populations.

The changes became effective from 8 August 2018.

The changes included:

  • ecologically sustainable limits on the number of kangaroos that may be culled, based on property size
  • previous and current licence holders can apply for licences over the phone
  • more shooters may operate under each licence, and shooter details are provided to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) after culling operations, rather than with the licence application
  • removal of the use of carcass tags and the 'shoot and let lie' licence condition to reduce biosecurity risks
  • allow landholders and shooters to use carcasses for non-commercial purposes.

View the licence conditions for licences to harm kangaroos (PDF 32KB).

In addition, the NSW Government has announced extensions to the commercial kangaroo harvest zones in South East NSW. This is expected to occur during 2019.

Local Land Services will assist landholders by facilitating connections with licensed harvesters and experienced volunteer recreational shooters.

Read the frequently asked questions about the changes to licences to harm kangaroos.

Do I still need a licence to harm kangaroos?

Yes, you need a licence to harm kangaroos if you intend to harm kangaroos, wallabies or wallaroos on your property to mitigate damage or for public safety purposes.

If your property is in a commercial harvest zone, you can also engage a licensed commercial harvester to remove kangaroos from your property.

How can I apply for a licence to harm kangaroos?

There are 2 ways to make an application for a licence to harm kangaroos:

  1. Complete an application form and submit with any required documentation to your local National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) office by email, post or in person.
  2. If you have been granted a licence to harm native animals in the past few years, you may provide the information required in the application form by phone to your local NPWS office.

Do I need a licence to harm other native animals?

Yes. If you want to harm other types of native animals you will need to apply using a different application form – find out more about licences to harm native animals other than kangaroos.

What if I need to control damage by kangaroos and other native animals?

There are now different application forms and licence conditions for licences to harm kangaroos and licences to harm other native animals.

If you want to control damage by kangaroos, wombats and birds on your property, you will need both licences:

What are the conditions introduced to help manage kangaroos during the drought?

The following conditions now apply to all licences to harm kangaroos to assist landholders to manage kangaroo populations during the drought:

  • carcass tags are no longer required
  • more than 2 shooters may operate at any one time
  • carcasses may be used for non-commercial purposes.

Harm under a non-commercial licence to harm kangaroos applies to any non-threatened kangaroo and wallaby species, including the 4 species subject to commercial harvesting under the kangaroo management program (eastern grey, western grey, red and wallaroo).

How do I know what species I have on my property?

Our website contains information and pictures of kangaroo and wallaby species.

If you are unsure about the species that are causing damage on your property, seek advice from your local NPWS area office.

How many kangaroos can I harm on my property?

You can nominate how many kangaroos you want to cull on your property in your application for a licence.

The maximum limits per non-commercial licence for 2019 are based on updated kangaroo population estimates and commercial harvest quotas for 2019, published in the Kangaroo Management Plan 2019 Quota Report.

Limits for 2019 have been set for the 4 species subject to commercial harvesting (eastern grey, western grey, red and wallaroo), for each kangaroo management zone (PDF 749KB) in New South Wales.

For species and zones in which commercial harvesting has been suspended for 2019, new non-commercial licences will only be granted where the landholder provides evidence of kangaroo-related damage and will be subject to significantly lower limits. This applies to grey and red kangaroos in the Cobar zone and red kangaroos in the Tibooburra zone.

The 2019 limits come into effect for licences granted on or after 1 January 2019.

If you are unsure of your kangaroo management zone, you can contact your local NPWS office.

If you are unsure about the species that are causing damage on your property, seek advice from your local NPWS office. Our website contains information and pictures of kangaroo and wallaby species.

Limits on kangaroo culls per licence, by species

Eastern grey kangaroos

Zone 21-40 ha 41-100 ha 101-500 ha 501-5000 ha 5001+ ha
Cobar To be assessed on a case-by-case basis
Lower Darling, Bourke, Griffith 25 50 125 250 250
All other zones 25 50 125 250 500

Western grey kangaroos

Zone 21-40 ha 41-100 ha 101-500 ha 501-5000 ha 5001+ ha
Cobar To be assessed on a case-by-case basis
All other zones 25 50 125 250 250

Red kangaroos

Zone 21-40 ha 41-100 ha 101-500 ha 501-5000 ha 5001+ ha
Tibooburra & Cobar To be assessed on a case-by-case basis
All other zones 25 50 125 250 250

Wallaroos

Zone 21-40 ha 41-100 ha 101-500 ha 501-5000 ha 5001+ ha
Armidale, Glen Innes, Upper Hunter 10 10 20 30 50
All other zones 25 50 75 100 200

The number of kangaroos that can be culled on properties of 20 hectares or less will be determined on a case-by-case basis, considering any risks to the safety of persons and livestock on neighbouring properties.

Why have the licence limits changed for 2019?

The maximum limits per non-commercial licence for 2019 are based on updated kangaroo population estimates and commercial harvest quotas for 2019, published in the Kangaroo Management Plan 2019 Quota Report.

Updated kangaroo population estimates indicate an overall decrease in grey and red kangaroo populations in New South Wales. As a result, harvesting has been suspended for grey and red kangaroos in the Cobar zone and red kangaroos in the Tibooburra zone.

In kangaroo management zones where harvesting has been suspended, new non-commercial licences will only be granted where the landholder provides evidence of kangaroo-related damage and will be subject to significantly lower limits.

Landholders of large properties applying for licences are encouraged to consider participating in the commercial harvest program.

Office of Environment and Heritage conducts monthly reviews of licences issued to landholders and commercial harvesters to ensure the total number of kangaroos culled is within ecologically sustainable limits. If after review, changes to the maximum limits are announced, the new limits will only apply to new licences granted after the date of the announcement.

How will the kangaroo population be sustainably managed?

The NSW Kangaroo Management Plan for the commercial harvest program establishes a quota to ensure kangaroo populations in the harvest zones remain ecologically sustainable.

The quota is set at 17% of the population for red kangaroos and 15% for eastern and western grey kangaroos and wallaroos.

Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) will closely monitor the total number of kangaroos authorised to be culled under licences to harm, and the number harvested under the commercial harvest program. The population and commercial quota since 1982 is illustrated in the graph below.

If the combined cull and harvest numbers approach the ecologically sustainable quota, OEH will adjust the maximum limits on the number of kangaroos that can be harmed under licences to harm kangaroos.

kangaroo population commercial quota graph 

How will animal welfare be managed?

All shooting of kangaroos and wallabies must comply with the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Non-Commercial Purposes to ensure kangaroos are killed in a way that minimises pain and suffering.

As well, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 applies to harming kangaroos in New South Wales.

Compliance with this Act is monitored and enforced by the NSW Police Force, the NSW RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League NSW.

What methods can I use to harm kangaroos?

The National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Non-Commercial Purposes specifies acceptable methods of shooting kangaroos, including:

  • the type of firearms and ammunition that must be used
  • how shooting must be conducted (shooting from moving vehicles or helicopters is not permitted)
  • where to aim to ensure a sudden and humane death
  • procedures to minimise pain and suffering of shot animals and euthanase dependent young.

Any proposal to use a method other than shooting in accordance with the code should be discussed with your local NPWS office prior to submitting a licence application.

How will risks to neighbouring properties be managed?

Kangaroo culling on or near small properties and may pose a risk to the safety of people and livestock on neighbouring properties.

From 22 October 2018, the following arrangements apply to ensure this risk is managed:

  • the number of kangaroos that can be culled on properties of 20 hectares or less will be determined on a case-by-case basis, but will not exceed the limits set for properties between 20 and 40 hectares
  • licences issued to properties of 20 hectares or less will include a condition requiring notification to local police and neighbours before commencing culling
  • this condition may also be included on licences for larger properties that are adjacent to smaller properties or rural communities.

All shooters are required to comply with firearms laws and firearm licence conditions to ensure the safety of shooting operations.

Do I need to tag kangaroos harmed on my property?

No. From 8 August 2018, carcass tags are no longer required to be attached to carcasses. This applies to current licences and new licences.

Commercial tags are still required for kangaroos harvested by licensed kangaroo harvesters.

Can I use the carcasses under a licence to harm kangaroos?

Non-commercially, yes. The 'shoot and let lie' licence condition no longer applies.

Carcasses must not be sold, swapped or traded. They may be used by landholders and shooters for any secondary purpose, including for pest animal baiting programs.

Do all shooters need a licence to harm kangaroos?

No. The landholder requires a licence to harm kangaroos, but separate licences are no longer issued to shooters. Shooters, however, do require a valid firearms licence to use category A and B firearms and must carry a copy of the landholder's licence to harm kangaroos while harming kangaroos on the landholder's property, or while in possession of the carcasses.

All kangaroos must be harmed in accordance with the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Non-Commercial Purposes. Landholders must ensure all shooters are provided with a copy of this code.

Is there a limit on the number of shooters?

No. There is no limit on the number of shooters that can operate on your property at any one time.

Culling operations should be undertaken in a manner to ensure the safety of all persons on your and nearby properties, including public land.

Who can help with shooting kangaroos on my property?

Persons with a valid firearms licence and appropriate firearms can assist to shoot kangaroos on your property under a licence to harm kangaroos.

Shooters are no longer required to be listed on the licence application form and OEH no longer issues separate licences to shooters.

Local Land Services (LLS) is has established a register of licensed commercial harvesters, and professional and experienced volunteer recreational shooters who are willing to assist landholders to manage kangaroos.

Landholders who wish to obtain contact details of a shooter in their region can visit the Local Land Services website for more information and register online.

Licensed commercial harvesters and professional and experienced volunteer recreational kangaroo shooters will be advised of the opportunity to be included on this register and be invited to apply online.

The register will be progressively expanded over time as shooters contact Local Land Services and submit their details. Find out more about the register.

What are the non-commercial kangaroo shooters' best practice guidelines?

The NSW Department of Primary Industries Game Licensing Unit has developed a comprehensive best practice guide for shooters wanting to be involved in non-commercial kangaroo culling.

The Volunteer Non-Commercial Kangaroo Shooters Best Practice Guide (PDF 525KB) covers critical aspects of safe and humane kangaroo culling including legislative requirements, kangaroo species identification, firearms calibres and projectiles, marksmanship and shot placement, disease identification and handling game meat.

The guide will be provided to all landholders and shooters participating in non-commercial kangaroo culling.

Do I need to keep records?

Yes. The licence conditions require the landholder to keep records of:

  • the species and number of animals harmed under your licence
  • the name and firearms licence details of all shooters who harmed kangaroos under the licence.

Please note, new licences may not be granted unless records have been provided for previous licences.

Do I need to provide records to National Parks and Wildlife Service?

Records must be provided to your local NPWS office with 7 days of the expiry of your licence.

There are 2 ways to provide your records:

  1. Complete the record sheet you received when you were granted your licence and submit it to your local NPWS office by email, post or in person.
  2. Call your local NPWS office and provide the records over the phone.

Limits on kangaroo culls per licence

Maximum cull limits per species have been applied to licences to harm kangaroos granted by National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) since 8 August 2018. The maximum limits do not apply to the commercial kangaroo harvest program.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment conducts monthly reviews of licences issued to landholders and commercial harvesters to ensure the total number of kangaroos culled is within ecologically sustainable limits. If after review, changes to the maximum limits are announced, the new limits will only apply to new licences granted after the date of the announcement.

2019 non-commercial allocation limits

The maximum limits per non-commercial licence for 2019 are based on updated kangaroo population estimates and commercial harvest quotas for 2019, published in the Kangaroo Management Plan 2019 Quota Report.

The updated kangaroo population estimates indicate an overall decrease in grey and red kangaroo populations in New South Wales. As a result, harvesting has been suspended for grey and red kangaroos in the Cobar kangaroo management zone and red kangaroos in the Tibooburra zone.

Limits for non-commercial licences for 2019 have been set for the 4 species subject to commercial harvesting (eastern grey, western grey, red and wallaroo) for each kangaroo management zone (PDF 749KB) in New South Wales.

In kangaroo management zones where harvesting has been suspended, new non-commercial licences will only be granted where the landholder provides evidence of kangaroo-related damage and will be subject to significantly lower limits.

These changes come into effect for licences granted on or after 1 January 2019.

If you are unsure of your kangaroo management zone, you can contact your local NPWS office.

If you are unsure about the species that are causing damage on your property, seek advice from your local NPWS office. Our website contains information and pictures of kangaroo and wallaby species.

Limits on kangaroo culls per licence, by species

Eastern grey kangaroos

Zone 21-40 ha 41-100 ha 101-500 ha 501-5000 ha 5001+ ha
Cobar To be assessed on a case-by-case basis
Lower Darling, Bourke, Griffith 25 50 125 250 250
All other zones 25 50 125 250 500

Western grey kangaroos

Zone 21-40 ha 41-100 ha 101-500 ha 501-5000 ha 5001+ ha
Cobar To be assessed on a case-by-case basis
All other zones 25 50 125 250 250

Red kangaroos

Zone 21-40 ha 41-100 ha 101-500 ha 501-5000 ha 5001+ ha
Tibooburra & Cobar To be assessed on a case-by-case basis
All other zones 25 50 125 250 250

Wallaroos

Zone 21-40 ha 41-100 ha 101-500 ha 501-5000 ha 5001+ ha
Armidale, Glen Innes, Upper Hunter 10 10 20 30 50
All other zones 25 50 75 100 200

Please note:

  • for properties 1-20 hectares in size, non-commercial licence culling limits will be determined on a case-by-case basis
  • for all other kangaroo and wallaby species, non-commercial licence culling limits will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Limits and conditions for small properties

Kangaroo culling on or near small properties and roads may pose a risk to the safety of people and livestock on neighbouring properties.

The following arrangements apply to ensure the risk is managed:

  • the number of kangaroos that can be culled on properties of 20 hectares or less will be determined on a case-by-case basis but will not exceed the limits set for properties between 20 and 40 hectares
  • licences issued to properties of 20 hectares or less will include a condition requiring notification to local police and neighbours before commencing culling
  • this condition may also be included on licences for larger properties that are adjacent to smaller properties or rural communities.

Apply for a licence

There are 2 ways to make an application to your local NPWS office:

  1. Complete an application form for a licence to harm kangaroos (DOC 194KB) and submit with any required documentation to your local NPWS office by email, post or in person.
  2. If you have been granted a licence to harm native animals in the past few years, you may provide the information required in the application form by phone to your local NPWS office.

Note: If you intend to harm protected animals other than kangaroos, you will need to use a different application form. See licence to harm protected native animals other than kangaroos.

Linking landholders to professional and volunteer shooters

Local Land Services (LLS) is establishing a register of licensed commercial harvesters, and professional and experienced volunteer recreational shooters who are willing to assist landholders to manage kangaroos.

Landholders who wish to obtain contact details of a shooter in their region can go to the Local Land Services website for more information and to register online.

Licensed commercial harvesters and professional and experienced volunteer recreational kangaroo shooters will be advised of the opportunity to be included on this register and be invited to apply online.

The register will be progressively added to over time as shooters contact Local Land Services and submit their details. Find out more about the register.

Non-commercial kangaroo shooters' best practice guidelines

The NSW Department of Primary Industries Game Licensing Unit has developed a comprehensive best practice guide for shooters wanting to be involved in non-commercial kangaroo culling.

The Volunteer Non-Commercial Kangaroo Shooters Best Practice Guide (PDF 525KB) covers critical aspects of safe and humane kangaroo culling including legislative requirements, kangaroo species identification, firearm calibres and projectiles, marksmanship and shot placement, disease identification and handling game meat.

The guide will be provided to all landholders and shooters participating in non-commercial kangaroo culling.

Animal welfare

All shooters must comply with the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Non-Commercial Purposes.

Compliance with the Code is intended to ensure kangaroos are killed in a way that minimises pain and suffering.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 applies to harming kangaroos in NSW. Compliance with this Act is monitored and enforced by the NSW Police Force, the RSPCA NSW and the Animal Welfare League NSW.

Record keeping and returns

You must record the number and species of kangaroos harmed under your licence and the names and firearms licence details of all shooters and provide these records to your local NPWS office within 7 days of the expiry of your licence.

There are 2 ways to provide your records to your local NPWS office:

  1. Complete the record sheet you received when you were granted your licence and submit it to your local NPWS office by email, post or in person.
  2. Call your local NPWS office and provide the records over the phone.

New licences may not be granted unless records have been provided for previous licences.

Public register

Go to the public register of licences to harm to view information about the licences granted by NPWS that authorise harm to protected animals, including kangaroos.