Article courtesy of Civil Contractors Federation, Queensland.

Recent changes (28th January 2021) have been made to the licencing requirements for operators of drones of less than 2.0kg, when being used for work purposes (previously, these were exempted).

If you fly a drone, or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), for business or use one as part of your job, you must register it before you fly. This applies to all drones that you fly to provide any type of service – no matter how much it weighs. This may include activities such as:

  • selling photos or videos taken from a drone
  • inspecting industrial equipment, construction sites or infrastructure
  • monitoring, surveillance or security services
  • research and development
  • any drone activities on behalf of your employer or business.

In addition; operators of the drones are now required to be accredited as an RPA operator, unless you are a holder of a Remote Pilot Licence.


The following are now required;

  • You will need to apply for an Aviation Reference Number (ARN) – (here)
  • Once that is done, apply for a RPA operator’s accreditation – (here)
  • Then, if it is not already, you will need to get the drone registered – (here)

Penalties do apply;

  • For an unregistered drone – up to $11,100
  • Flying a drone for work purposes without being accredited – up to $11,100


The do’s and don’ts of flying

You must:

  • only fly one drone at a time
  • always fly your drone within visual line-of-sight — this means: o flying only during the day
  • avoid flying in cloud, fog or heavy rain
  • you can see your drone with your own eyes at all times — not by using binoculars or watching a video screen
  • not flying behind trees, buildings or anything else that stops you seeing your drone at all times.

You must not fly your drone:

  • higher than 120 m (400 ft) above ground level — that’s about the height of a 35-storey building or length of a football field
  • closer than 30 m to people — other than those helping to fly or navigate your drone
  • over or above people at any time or height
  • in a way that creates a hazard to another person, aircraft or property
  • near emergency situations
  • in prohibited or restricted airspace (use a CASA-verified drone safety app to help you)
  • closer than 5.5 km to a controlled aerodrome or airfield (usually those with a control tower), if your drone weighs more than 250 g.
  • You may operate your drone within 5.5 km of a non-controlled aerodrome or helicopter landing site only if:
  • there are no manned aircraft (one or more people inside) flying to or from the aerodrome
  • you land as soon as safely possible if you see any manned aircraft flying to or from the aerodrome
  • you stay outside the airfield boundary

Please view Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s website for current regulation and information.