Registration and off label use

Learn about the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), the Australian Government regulator of agricultural and veterinary chemical products. You may need approval from the APVMA to possess, prepare, or use a pesticide.

Agricultural and veterinary (Agvet) chemicals, used by farmers, pest controllers, veterinarians or other home or professional users, include

It is illegal to possess, prepare or use an Agvet chemical in NSW unless it is registered by the APVMA or covered by an APVMA permit.

Registration and permits


By Australian law, pesticides must be registered by the APVMA before they can be manufactured, supplied, sold or used. The registration process involves scientifically evaluating the safety and effectiveness of a product to protect the health and safety of people, animals, plants and the environment. Registered pesticides carry an APVMA-approved label that provides users with instructions that

  • are designed to minimise impacts on health, the environment and trade
  • are based on good agricultural practice

The APVMA assesses and registers pesticides, and regulates those chemicals up to and including the point of sale. States and territories control the use of pesticides beyond the point of sale, so in NSW the EPA then regulates the use, storage and disposal of these chemicals.

Applications are made to the APVMA to approve, register or vary active constituents, products, or labels. An application must be supported by information that allows the APVMA to determine whether they are satisfied that the product meets the applicable statutory criteria (safety, trade, efficacy and labelling criteria).

Visit the APVMA website to

  • apply to register an agricultural or veterinary chemical product
  • approve or vary an active constituent
  • approve or vary a registered product or approved label

More detailed information on registering a chemical and the process involved


Situations often arise where chemicals are needed for a use not specified on the label, termed ‘an off-label’ use. The APVMA considers applications for permits that

  • allow for the legal use of chemicals in ways different from those set out in the product label
  • allow the limited use of an unregistered chemical

A permit is similar to a label in that all instructions must be strictly followed.

More detailed information on permits and how to obtain one

Pesticides research trials

Conducting research trials on pesticides may require a research permit from the APVMA, depending on the size of the trial.

Small-scale trials may not require a permit provided the research complies with all the conditions of the small-scale trial permit PER7250, including the requirement that no produce resulting from the trial will be made available for human consumption.

Any research that falls outside of the scope of permit PER7250 will require an application for approval.

Find out more about research permits

Getting a use pattern on a label

Variations can be made to approved labels by notifying the APVMA of

  • the distinguishing name of a registered product
  • the name that is to appear on the label of a registered product
  • net contents where the net contents are within the range already approved for the product and the variation does not result in a change to any instructions
  • instructions for use where the variation will remove a use of the chemical product and does not affect any other instructions

An application will need to be made to the APVMA for their approval when

  • there needs to be a label variation due to adding new instructions for use
  • modifying existing use instructions

More information on notifying or applying for a label change

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