Transport, postal & warehousing industry fact sheet
This fact sheet provides an overview of the legal, operational and business issues relevant to the transport, postal and warehousing industry, which includes:
- transporting passengers via taxi and luxury car hire services
- transporting passengers and freight by road, rail, water or air
- postal, courier pick-up and delivery services
- scenic and sightseeing transport
- warehousing other storage activities.
As well as the information in this fact sheet, you should 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 advisor.
See our topics on this page for detailed information on the transport, postal and warehousing industry:
- Key legislation & initiatives
- Licences & permits
- Finance & tax
- Levies & charges
- Workplace health & safety (WHS)
- Intellectual property (IP)
- Industry training
- Key government organisations & websites
- Key advisors
- Industry groups
- Other useful information.
Industry research is an important part of planning for your business. Researching your industry may also uncover economic and industry trends which can assist you in establishing your business or improving your business to keep pace with your industry.
The key government sources for industry specific statistics for the transport, postal and warehousing industry include:
- Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE)
The transport statistics page on the BITRE website provides information and statistics on many forms of transport and transport infrastructure, including aviation, maritime, rail and road.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
The Transport section of the ABS website also provides specific statistics on the transport industry.
Key legislation & initiatives
Legislation often plays a large part in how you run your business, so it’s important to be aware of the laws that apply to your industry. Key legislation that may affect businesses in the transport, postal and warehousing industry includes:
- Competition and Consumer Act 2010
- Australian Consumer Law (ACL)
- Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989
- Heavy Vehicle Regulation
- Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS)
- Austroads Registration and Licensing Task Force
- Heavy Vehicle National Law Regulations
- National trade measurement legislation
- State taxi and luxury car hire regulations
- State tow truck regulations.
You can have your say on government policy and regulation affecting the future of your industry by registering on the Business consultation website.
Industry codes of practice
In the transport industry, safety and efficiency are important factors when involving heavy vehicles. Codes of practice can often make these easier to achieve by setting a high standard for how you conduct your business.
South Australia and Victoria have a number of Transport industry codes of practice that apply to businesses operating heavy vehicles. Check the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) website, to see what codes apply in your state.
Licences & permits
Licences and permits specific to the transport, postal and warehousing industry depend on the type of transportation equipment used, and the type of goods being transferred or stored, but largely relate to:
- taxi licence
- towing licence
- boating licence
- limousine and luxury car licence
- heavy vehicle licensing and accreditation
- public weighbridge licensing
- local and international trade regulations
- customs licensing
- warehouse licensing
- qualifications to store/transport certain goods or services (e.g. food, waste)
- approval of transport security plans.
Search the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) website to find out what licences and permits you need for your industry.
If you employ staff, you need to comply with Australia’s national workplace laws and the specific requirements in your industry:
- Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for awards specific to your industry.
- The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) protects contractors in the transport industry by banning the use of contracts that cause or encourage drivers of heavy vehicles from exceeding a speed limit or driving while impaired by fatigue.
- Find out about your rights and obligations when employing people.
Finance & tax
There are a number of finance and tax measures specific to transport, postal and warehousing businesses, including:
- Goods and Services Tax (GST)
It’s important to know your GST obligations to ensure you are selling your services at the correct price and that you’re registered with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to ensure you can claim your GST credits. Visit the ATO's GST for motor vehicles and GST for taxi drivers pages for details specific to your industry.
- Fuel schemes
Fuel tax credits provide a credit for fuel tax (excise or customs duty) that is included in the price of fuel used in eligible business activities.
- Luxury Car Tax (LCT)
If you purchase or import luxury vehicles valued above a certain amount, you will need to pay LCT.
- Personal services income
For smaller businesses in the transport services industry it’s important to work out if personal services income applies to you.
To find more finance and tax guidance, take a look at:
- Visit the Australian Tax Office website for to find out more about tax measures such as offsets, rebates, deductions, depreciation and disaster assistance.
- our information on tax
- our information on managing your finances.
Levies & charges
Levies and charges in the transport, postal and warehousing industry are used to build new roads and routes, maintain transport resources, and operate related services.
The main levies and charges that apply include vehicle permits and licences, transport facility charges, road safety, airport and trade levies. The charges and levies may also differ between states.
See your state or territory Department of Transport for details of levies that apply to your industry.
There are very few government grants available for the transport, postal and warehousing industry. The main grants available are related to supporting access to regional areas, as well as promoting sustainability of fuel usage. Search Grants & Assistance to find specific grants that may be applicable to your business.
Workplace health & safety (WHS)
As well as the general occupational health and safety regulations, there are also some state-specific WHS requirements relevant to the transport, postal and warehousing industry including:
- traffic management
- fatigue management
- load management for drivers
- roadside operations
- forklift operations
- manual handling
- working at height
- working near overhead wires or underground services
- waste management
- working with dangerous goods and hazardous substances
- working alone.
Need help understanding your WHS obligations? Try these government resources:
- See the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website for safety and security information on specific transport types.
- See the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website for details on fatigue management regulations and specific information on Work diaries and record keeping.
- For industry specific WHS information, see the Safe Work Australia website.
- For details on your general health and safety obligations, see workplace health and safety.
- For state specific occupational health and safety information, see your state or territory workplace health and safety agency.
As well as compulsory insurance such as workers compensation, there are also a number of specific insurance options available for businesses in the transport, postal and warehousing industry.
Insurance options vary depending on your business type but can include insurance for:
- transportation vehicles and vessels
- equipment and machinery
- cargo and goods
- property and buildings
- business interruption.
Find out more about general insurance options for business.
Intellectual Property (IP)
There are a number of IP rights that may be relevant to businesses in the transport, postal and warehousing industry such as:
- Trade marks - protects your unique branding.
- Patents - protects inventions such as new equipment, new machinery, new systems or processes
IP Australia is the federal government agency responsible for granting rights in patents, trade marks and designs. Visit the IP Australia website to find out more about your IP options.
Industry training can be an important part of your business survival. New technologies, safety techniques, fatigue management, or packaging and storage methods and strategies may help improve your efficiency and costs, reduce impact on the environment, and improve your bottom line. Need some help getting started?
- See training for tips on training yourself and your staff.
- Search Events to find government events, seminars, training courses and workshops.
Businesses in the transport, postal and warehousing industry can have a large impact on the environment. Making environmentally conscious decisions such as usage of sustainable equipment and improving fuel economy can help improve your impact and save you money. The main environmental issues that businesses in the transport, postal and warehousing industry should be aware of include:
- fuel economy
- waste management and reduction.
Go to environmental management for advice on how you can manage your impact on the environment.
Key government organisations & websites
The key federal government agencies and websites relevant to the transport, postal and warehousing industry include:
- Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
- Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)
- National Transport Commission (NTC)
- National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR)
- Australian Maritime Safety Authority
- Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
- Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)
- Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd (ARTC).
The key state and territory government agencies relevant to the transport, postal and warehousing industry include:
- Transport for Canberra
- Transport for NSW
- NT Department of Transport
- QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads
- SA Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
- TAS Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources - Transport
- VIC Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure
- WA Department of Transport.
Business advisors can be a valuable tool when establishing and developing your business in your industry. Search Advisory Services to find one near you.
You may also wish to consult with an industry association or group for more information and advice on your industry.
Other useful information
Information that may be particularly relevant to the transport, postal and warehousing industry include:
See something not quite right? Let us know on our contact us page.