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Wildlife management and control authorisations

How to manage problem wildlife and apply for an Authority to Control Wildlife.

Problems with wildlife

In some areas, wildlife can damage property, farmland or the environment. Wildlife can also pose a threat to human safety, or suffer from disease in areas where the species is over-abundant. Wildlife control may be needed to manage the problem.

Wildlife control must be lawful, thoughtful and well planned. It must consider the needs of people to protect their land, property and safety and it must also ensure animal welfare is protected.

When you can apply for an Authority to Control Wildlife 

All native birds, mammals, reptiles and frogs are protected in Victoria. It is illegal to disturb, trap or kill wildlife without a permit. It can result in a fine and/or imprisonment. 

Where wildlife is causing damage to property, posing a risk to human health and safety or impacting other environmental values, it may be necessary to consider management options to disturb or humanely kill wildlife. 

Landholders or land managers may apply for an Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW) to wilfully disturb or control wildlife once all reasonable options have been considered and implemented. For example, improving fencing to exclude wildlife from the area where they are causing damage.

You need to apply for an authority to control wildlife before:

  • Wilfully disturbing wildlife (for example attempting to herd kangaroos out of a paddock or using water cannons to protect crops.
  • Removing nests with eggs and/or birds sitting on the nest.
  • Trapping and/or shooting wildlife.

You do not need to apply for an ATCW:

  • If you engage a licensed Wildlife Controller for reptiles that are posing a safety risk to humans.
  • To trap and release brush-tailed possums from buildings or engage a licensed Wildlife Controller (subject to the conditions in the Governor in Council Orders published on 10 July 1997).
  • Shoot deer (except hog deer) that is causing damage to buildings, gardens, crops or other vegetation on private property (subject to the conditions in the Governor in Council Orders published on 1 March 2018).

Submit your application 

Download and complete your application:

Once completed, submit your application form to your local DEWLP office:

Help with your application

Download our guidance document to help you fill out your application form. It also shows how we assess applications and what can and cannot be authorised under an ATCW.

Control methods

All practical non-lethal control methods must be considered before you apply for an ATCW for lethal control. While lethal control may seem like the immediate answer, it is time-consuming and often must be repeated to be effective. Lethal control may not always solve the issue as the issue may require a long-term control method.

If you have exhausted any practical non-lethal methods for managing wildlife, given them enough time to be fully effective, and consider that lethal control is your last resort, you must apply for an ATCW unless lethal control is authorised under law, under a Governor in Council Order for example.  

Consider non-lethal methods

Once you have worked out the species and cause of the wildlife problem, you must consider non-lethal wildlife control methods, including:

  • exclusion techniques (for example, fencing or netting)
  • techniques to modify the animal's behaviour (for example, habitat modification)
  • modifying agricultural practices (for example, avoiding aerial seeding or spillages or grain)

Often a combination of methods is required. To effectively resolve a problem, plan ahead and be persistent.

Fact sheets about wildlife management methods for common wildlife species include:

For information on management approaches that do not require an ATCW, contact your local DELWP office.

In general, DELWP does not allow translocation of non-threatened wildlife because of wildlife welfare and environmental reasons. For more information on our translocation policy, visit the Translocation of Wildlife page on the DELWP website.

The Common Wombat Order in Council 

There used to be an Order in Council that meant you did not require a licence to control the common wombat in some parts of Victoria.The Order in Council has been revoked which means that the common wombat is now protected everywhere in Victoria. It is illegal to disturb or to destroy protected wildlife without ATCW. 

The Kangaroo Harvesting Program

Since 1 October 2019, eastern grey and western grey kangaroos have been able to be harvested for commercial pet food processing under the Victorian Kangaroo Harvest Management Plan(KHMP).

If your issue relates to kangaroos, consider using the Kangaroo Harvest Program. As the manager of land being impacted by kangaroos, the Kangaroo Harvest Program gives you an option to bring in a licensed controller who will remove the kangaroos at no cost. 

Other requirements you need to consider before controlling wildlife

  • Firearms Act: Anyone shooting wildlife under an ATCW must also comply with the Firearms Act 1996. Shooters are required to hold an appropriate firearms licence. For more information about firearms, visit www.police.vic.gov.au/firearms or call 1300 651 645.
  • Local Municipal Bylaws: It is your responsibility to check with your local councils’ bylaws to see if any of your proposed control methods require approval or have conditions of use.
  • Environmental Protection Act: It is your responsibility to check whether the proposed control methods do not breach any restriction from the Environment Protection Act 1970 or regulations made under the Act such as Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2018.
  • Public Place Permit: Depending on the location, you may need to obtain a Public Place Permit from Victoria Police before shooting wildlife in accordance with an ATCW. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

Reviewed 10 May 2021

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