Commercial operator licence (COL)
A Commercial Operator Licence (COL) is required by people who use agricultural chemicals on another person’s property, crop or commodity for a fee or reward (i.e. contractors).
Use includes all ground-based spraying, spreading or dispersing of agricultural chemical (i.e. excludes aerial).
There is an exemption for specific types of pest controllers licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Commercial Operator Licences issued by other State and Territory governments are not valid in Victoria.
Types of COL endorsements
There are four types of COL endorsements, each with a different training requirement:
- Agricultural chemicals (other than vermin destroyers/avicides and fumigants) endorsement
- Vermin (pest animal) destroyers and avicides
- Copper Chromium Arsenic
A COL can have any one or all of the endorsements, provided the relevant training requirement has been completed.
Agricultural chemicals (other than vermin destroyers/avicides and fumigants) endorsement
Authorises the use of agricultural chemicals for agricultural or horticultural purposes, including forestry, post-harvest treatment of produce and the control of weeds, insects and diseases.
A person who carries on a business which involves the use of agricultural chemicals (herbicide, insecticide or fungicide) only in a garden associated with residential premises and who has completed a recognised course in agvet chemical use is exempt from holding a COL.
A recognised course in agvet chemical use (or equivalent) that includes the units:
- AHCCHM307 – Prepare and apply chemicals to control pest, weeds and diseases (previously AHCCHM303); and
- AHCCHM304 – Transport and store chemicals.
(i.e. Agvet Chemical User Course run by AusChem Victoria, ChemCert, various TAFE institutes and private providers).
Vermin (pest animal) destroyers and avicides
Authorises the use of agricultural chemicals for vermin control in rural areas (i.e. fox, rabbit, pig or bird control).
*Note: People in the business of pest control for domestic and commercial premises require a Pest Control Licence issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.
For information, contact the Department of Health and Human Services Pest Control Program on 1300 887 090.
- AHCCHM307 – Prepare and apply chemicals to control pest, weeds and diseases (previously AHCCHM303);
- AHCCHM304 – Transport and store chemicals; and
- AHCPMG309 – Apply pest animal control techniques.
Alternatively, a course in vermin control or pest animal management that includes the now superseeded units: AHCVPT306A; AHCFAU201A; AHCPMG402A; and AHCVPT302A.
Any person using products containing 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) or PAPP (4-aminopropiophenone) under a COL must have successfully completed the 22516VIC Course in Minimising Risks in the Use of 1080 and PAPP Bait Products for Vertebrate Pest Control (or previous equivalents 22275VIC or 21835VIC).
Authorises the fumigation of produce or soil.
- A course in fumigation with methyl bromide; or
- Unit CPPPMT3011 – Manage organisms by applying fumigants to commodities and environments (previous equivalent CPPPMT3011A).
(i.e. Asset Maintenance training package – Melbourne Polytechnic Fumigation Course).
Copper Chromium Arsenic
Authorises the treatment of timber with copper chromium arsenic (CCA) on behalf of others (i.e. treatment of timber that is owned by another person).
*Note: CCA products are not sold by retailers and are not used by farmers or the general public. Only people working in timber treatment plants use CCA products.
Employees using CCA chemical products must complete the following unit and be listed on the CCA COL (or be working under direct and immediate supervision of a person listed on the CCA COL):
- FWPSAW3201 – Treat timber (previous equivalent FPISAW3201A or FPISAW3201B).
To find out which organisations offer these training courses and where they are run, contact TAFE institutes, AusChem Victoria, private providers or industry organisations.
How to apply for a COL
- Decide which COL endorsement type you need
- Successfully complete the relevant training course(s)
- Complete and submit an ACUP application form including providing information on any previous convictions under any of the following Acts:
- Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992
- Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981
- Dangerous Goods Act 1985
- Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
- Environment Protection Act 1970
Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.
The COL application fee as at 1 July 2019 is $562.75 and the licence is valid for three years.
Chemical users must, within 48 hours of using a product, make specified records of use and keep these records for a minimum of two years.
See all related agricultural chemical use forms.