Gain an understanding of the legal, operational and business issues relevant to the professional, scientific and technical services industry.

The professional, scientific and technical services industry includes:

  • scientists
  • accountants
  • advertising and marketing specialists
  • lawyers and solicitors
  • vets
  • management and other consultants
  • photographers
  • architects
  • engineers
  • computer system designers

You should also check our general business information for additional regulations and obligations relevant to your business. For further advice and assistance, contact your accountant, solicitor or business adviser. You may also wish to consult with an industry association or group for more information and advice on your industry.

Legislation, standards and initiatives


You must be aware of the laws that apply to the professional, scientific and technical services industry.

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Licences and permits


State or territory governments manage the licences and permits for the professional, scientific and technical services industry. This section details the licences and permits you may need to obtain.

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Search the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS)

Find the licences and permits you need for your professional, scientific and technical services business.

Taxation


Tax measures that are specific to the professional, scientific and technical services industry include:

Grants


Grants for the professional, scientific and technical services industry are available to support businesses that:

  • conduct activities that are innovative
  • conduct research and development activities
  • improve the environment
  • support technology projects
  • promote the arts industry

For specific grants, search the following resources:

Employ people


If you employ staff, you need to comply with Australia’s national workplace laws specific to the professional, scientific and technical services industry.

Workplace Health and Safety (WHS)


All business must comply with general occupational health and safety regulations. The professional, scientific and technical services industry also has state specific WHS requirements. These include:

Visit the Safe Work Australia website for state-specific WHS requirements. Safe Work Australia also provides specific information on hazardous chemicals and nanotechnology.

Asbestos Training and Worksafe ACT

All ACT building and construction workers including architects and engineers who work with asbestos are required to complete asbestos awareness training.

Environment


The main environmental issues that businesses in the professional, scientific and technical services industry should understand include:

  • disposal of chemicals and drugs (including developing film)
  • protection of national parks, forests or marine parks
  • protection of threatened species
  • protection of animals and native flora and fauna
  • protection of waterways including rivers, lakes, estuaries and wetlands
  • protection of Aboriginal heritage sites and land
  • protection of world heritage and other heritage listed sights
  • environmental design in architecture and engineering
  • waste management and reduction

Intellectual Property


As well as trade marks, manufacturing businesses may have other relevant IP rights:

  • Copyright protection is free and automatic in Australia. It protects works such as engineering drawings, architectural plans, computer games, software, databases & computer code.
  • Designs protects the overall feature, shape, configuration, pattern or ornamentation of a product.
  • Patents protects inventions such as new equipment, new machinery, new systems or processes.
  • Confidentiality/trade secrets stop employees from revealing secret knowledge during and after their employment.
  • Circuit layout rights automatically protects original layout designs for integrated circuits and computer chips.

IP Australia is the federal government agency responsible for granting rights in patents, trade marks and designs. IP Australia provides industry-specific pages for:

Insurance


Alongside compulsory insurances, the professional, scientific and technical services industry has specific insurances. These insurances include:

  • professional indemnity
  • public liability insurance
  • equipment and machinery
  • property and buildings
  • vehicles and business interruption

Professional indemnity insurance

Professional indemnity insurance protects advice-based businesses from customers and clients who take legal action against losses incurred as a result of professional negligence. In certain professions, indemnity insurance is a mandatory requirement. These professions include:

  • Accountants and bookkeepers - You must obtain professional indemnity insurance before you can register as a Tax agent or BAS Agent.
  • Architects - In most states, you must obtain professional indemnity insurance before you can operate as an architect.
  • Veterinarians - In some states, you must obtain professional indemnity insurance before you can operate as a veterinarian.

Key government organisations and agencies


The federal, state and territory government organisations and agencies relevant to the professional, scientific and technical services industry include:

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Government industry research


Industry research is an important part of planning for your business, it may help you identify:

  • economic and industry trends
  • establish or improve your business
  • help you keep pace with your industry
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