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Licences and permits

Licences and permits either give a business approval to do an activity or help protect a business and its employees. Which licences and permits you need will depend on the type of business you want to set up and your activities. These can include:

  • Impacts on the environment: If your activity is likely to impact on the local environment, such as parks, heritage sites, air and water, you’ll need to obtain licences and permits through your state or local government.
  • Running a business from home: Using your home as a place of business can mean you need to have a zoning permit. You may also need special permission if your activities cause pollution, noise, energy use or parking issues. 
  • Importing or exporting: If you import or export, Australian Customs will need to clear your goods. Find out more about import permits, quarantine permits, mandatory safety or information standards that may apply to your type of goods.
  • Workplace health and safety (WHS): Your state or territory health and safety regulator issues permits to make your business safer and healthier.
  • Employing people: Plan ahead when taking on employees by knowing the requirements for pay, leave, superannuation and tax.
  • Industry-specific activities: Each industry has its own unique licences and permits. It can be as simple as playing music in your office to approval to serve food and alcohol, or a fishing licence.

Searching for licences and permits?

Search the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to find licences, permits and other registrations that apply to your business.


Search ABLIS

Find out more

  • Read how each industry has its own unique legal, operational and business requirements on our industry research page.
  • Learn about the different business structures and types and which one suits your business.
  • For more advice on your particular industry, speak to one of your industry associations or find your nearest business adviser.

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