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Licences and permits: what do I need?

By Beatrice Thomas

Businesses need to comply with an enormous range of licences and permits required across all levels of government.  

And there are penalties if you don’t apply. It’s enough to put anyone off starting a business. 

But thanks to a couple of sophisticated online search engines, the hard work and some of the stress has been taken out of finding out what requirements apply to your business.  

They even point you to the forms you need to fill in. 

The Small Business Development Corporation’s licence finder will help you find not only government licences and permits that are applicable to your business, but also codes of practice.  

The search function asks you to: 

  • identify your business type 
  • identify your location  
  • choose from 31 options about how your business operates. 

You can choose multiple options under the following headings to identify exactly how your business operates 

  • building and development 
  • business operation 
  • environment and resources 
  • equipment standards 
  • premises, plant and equipment 
  • products, services and other activities 
  • taxation 
  • transport and equipment 
  • using public or private land. 

These options cover a raft of topics, including employment of staff, trading hours, business venue, manufacture, production, sale, transportation, handing of food and import and export of goods. 

You can use this search function to find information about different types of applicationsinitial application, renewal, creation of a variation or transfer/cancellation of an existing licence or permit.  

You can even request documents associated with each licence or permit 

The search results are bundled together in a report for all the licences and permits you’ll need. You can choose to receive the report as a PDF by either download or email.  

The information for each licence and permit is thorough. It explains the circumstances in which you need the permit or licence as well as: 

  • eligibility requirements 
  • how often you need to apply 
  • how much it costs 
  • links to forms to fill in 
  • who to contact for more information and information. 

The Federal Government provides the same information through the Australian Business Licence and Information Service search engine, available on   

Businesses need to comply with an enormous range of licences and permits required across all levels of government.  

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