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 changes to licences 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 are effective from 8 August 2018.

The changes include:

  • 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.
  • Remove 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 new licence conditions for licences to harm kangaroos (PDF 51KB).

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.

Limits on kangaroo culls per licence

The limits of the number of kangaroos that may be culled under a licence to harm are set out below.

 Species1-20 ha21-40 ha41-100 ha101-500 ha501-5000 ha5001+ ha
Eastern grey, western grey and red kangaroos determined on a case-by case-basis 50 100 250 500 1000
Wallaroos 25 50 75 100 200
Swamp wallabies, red-necked wallabies and other species determined on a case-by-case basis

These limits apply to all licences to harm granted from 8 August 2018.

From 22 October, the number of kangaroo that can be culled on properties of  20 hectares or less will be determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account any risks to the safety  of  persons and livestock on neighbouring properties. Office of Environment and Heritage will conduct monthly  reviews of the licences issued to landholders and commercial harvesters to ensure the total number of kangaroos culled remains within ecologically  sustainable limits.

As appropriate, the limits may be adjusted for specific regions and species. Changes to the limits will only apply to new licences issued after new limits are announced.

Existing licence holders

The following licence conditions also apply to existing licences to harm kangaroos for non-comecial purposes that have not yet expired and were granted before 8 August 2018, including:

  • carcass tags are no longer required and unused tags do not need to be returned to NPWS
  • more than 2 shooters may operate at any one time
  • carcasses may be used for non-commercial purposes.

Existing licence holders may apply for a new licence once records for their existing licence have been submitted to NPWS.

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.

From 22 October 2018, 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 205KB) 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, 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, professional and experienced volunteer recreational kangaroo shooters will be advised of the opportunity to be included on this register and invite them 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 Guide

The 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 guide 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 best practice guide will be provided to all landholders and shooters participating in non-commercial kangaroo culling. Find out more about the guide.

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 kangaroo in NSW. Compliance with this Act is monitored and enforced by the NSW Police, 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.

Page last updated: 22 October 2018