Collecting plant and animal materials for scientific research

You need approval if you want to collect biological resources for scientific research.

This process is called bioprospecting.

To carry out bioprospecting, you must have:

  • a benefit-sharing agreement with the resource access provider
  • a permit to undertake scientific research.
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You will need these approvals if you want to collect genetic materials from any of the following:

  • plants
  • animals
  • micro and macro-organisms
  • genes
  • any other genetic or biological resources.

Bioprospecting in the Northern Territory (NT) is regulated under the Biological Resources Act.

To find out more about bioprospecting in the NT, go to the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation website.

You will need to enter into a benefit sharing agreement with the access provider.

Some examples of resource access providers include:

  • the NT Government (for example national parks)
  • freehold landholders
  • the Aboriginal Land Trust.

Negotiate a benefit-sharing agreement

To enter into a benefit-sharing agreement, you will need to negotiate a benefit-sharing deed.

To help you draft a deed, you can use the templates below as a guide.

For agreements with government access providers

If you enter into an agreement with a government provider, follow these steps:

Step 1. Get the NT benefit sharing deed template DOCX (63.6 KB).

Step 2. Update the template as necessary to best suit your needs. You can get legal help if needed.

Step 3. Check that the deed meets all requirements listed in section 29 of the Biological Resources Act.

Step 4. Email the draft deed to the Industry Development unit for review at industrydevelopment@nt.gov.au.

Step 5. Once the deed is finalised and agreed by all parties, you can apply for a permit.

For agreements with non-government providers

If you enter into an agreement with a non-government provider, follow these steps:

Step 1. Get the non-NT benefit sharing deed template DOCX (61.1 KB).

Step 2. Negotiate an agreement directly with the access provider.

Step 3. Update the template as necessary. You can add or remove clauses to best suit your needs and the needs of the resource access provider.

Step 4. Check the deed meets all requirements listed in section 29 of the Biological Resources Act.

Step 5. Once the deed is finalised and agreed by all parties, you can apply for a permit.

To apply for a permit, you must contact the relevant authority.

Read below for more information.

Access land resources

To access land resources, you will need to apply to the Parks and Wildlife Commission.

Follow these steps:

Step 1. Fill in the permit application to undertake scientific research on wildlife.

Step 2. Attach to your permit application either:

  • a signed benefit-sharing agreement (government) or
  • certification that a benefit-sharing agreement meeting  the requirements of the Act has been signed by both parties (non-government).

Step 3. Submit your completed application to the Parks and Wildlife NT permits and concessions office.

Access marine resources

To access marine resources, you will need to apply to NT Fisheries.

Follow these steps:

Step 1. Fill in the section 17 special permit form DOCX (57.5 KB).

Step 2. Attach to your permit application either:

  • a signed benefit-sharing agreement (government) or
  • certification that a benefit-sharing agreement meeting the requirements of the Act has been signed by both parties (non-government).

Step 3. Submit your completed application to NT Fisheries.

If your application is successful, you  will be notified by the relevant authority and issued with a valid permit.

For more information, go to the Department of Trade Business and Innovation website or contact the Industry Development team:

Industry Development
Department of Trade, Business and Innovation
industrydevelopment@nt.gov.au
Phone: 08 8999 6888

Last updated: 11 September 2020

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