Pest (invasive) animal control laws
Landowners are responsible for taking all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive animals under their control. This is known as the general biosecurity obligation (GBO). Your local government and Biosecurity Queensland provide pest animal control support services but may also enforce landowner responsibilities if necessary.
Prohibited invasive animals
Prohibited invasive animals:
- are not found in Queensland
- would seriously threaten Queensland's primary industries, natural environment, native wildlife, and human and animal welfare
- include all mammals, reptiles and amphibians except animals native to Australia, 28 animals listed as permitted and those listed as restricted invasive animals.
If you see or find a prohibited animal in Queensland, you must report it to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours of the sighting. You must take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risk of it escaping until you receive advice from an authorised officer.
Restricted invasive animals
Restricted invasive animals:
- are established in Queensland
- seriously threaten Queensland's primary industries, natural environment, native wildlife, and human and animal welfare.
Under the Biosecurity Act 2014, there are 7 categories of restricted matter (i.e. restricted matter may include matter such as plants, animal diseases, noxious fish, inspects pest animals and weeds). Restricted invasive animals may fall into 1, a combination or all of categories 2 to 6 (listed below).
Under each category, the restricted invasive animal has listed restrictions. The specific restriction requirements also apply to a person when dealing with restricted invasive animals unless they have a restricted matter permit.
Restricted invasive animal categories and restrictions:
- Category 2: the invasive animal must be reported within 24 hours to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.
- Category 3: the invasive animal must not be distributed either by sale or gift, or released into the environment.
- Category 4: the invasive animal must not be moved.
- Category 5: the invasive animal must not be kept.
- Category 6: the invasive animal must not be fed.
Invasive animals are not prohibited or restricted invasive animals.
Everyone is obligated to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive animals under their control.
Exhibiting animals in Queensland
In Queensland you will need a licence or permit under the Exhibited Animals Act 2015 if you plant to exhibit animals (including declared animals). Read more about exhibiting animals in Queensland.
Control activities and animal welfare law
The Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 allows for the control of feral animals or pest (invasive) animals as long as it causes the animal as little pain as is reasonable and complies with animal welfare laws.
Control activities should result in the direct death of an animal (e.g. by shooting or poisoning), or initial live capture (e.g. using foot-hold traps) followed by humane destruction. When euthanising an animal, you must check that it is dead before leaving the site.
All control options suggested in this guide comply with Queensland's animal welfare laws.
Read more about the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.
Movement controls to prevent spread of fire ants and electric ants
Fire ants and electric ants are category 1 restricted pests under the Biosecurity Act 2014. Suspect ants must be reported to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.
Everyone, including commercial operators and residents, has a general biosecurity obligation to take measures to reduce the risk of spreading these ants.
Biosecurity zones are in place to restrict the movement of material that could carry fire ants or electric ants.
- Read the Biosecurity Act 2014.
- Learn more about animal welfare laws in Queensland.
- Read about animal welfare for wild dogs (PDF, 65KB).
- Learn about electric ant biosecurity zones and movement controls.
- Last reviewed: 22 Nov 2018
- Last updated: 19 May 2022