Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find the most frequently asked questions and answers about business permits.

If you can't find the answers to your questions below please contact Council's Business Concierge by phoning 9688 0200 or send us an email to

Why do I need to get business permits from Council?

Local Government Authorities (Councils) are given responsibility from the Victorian Government to oversee and manage a number of regulations.  This includes the issuing and enforcement of permits relating to Statutory Planning (land use) and Environmental Health (food and health related businesses).

Additionally Councils have their own local laws which will require permits (e.g. Outdoor Trading).  Permits are required to ensure that businesses operate in a safe and orderly manner that ensures standards are maintained

Will I need to get permits from any other organisations besides Council?

Depending on your situation you may also require permits from other government bodies or authorities such as City West Water.  Planning applications may need to be referred to third parties (eg, Vicroads) who will provide feedback that will help inform the planning permit decision.  Council officers will help you understand what may be required during the business concierge process.

How much does it cost to get a permit?

The cost of permits will vary depending on what you are planning to do with your business.  Each department in Council will have a schedule of permit costs.  Depending on how complex your application will be, you may need the Business Concierge to help you understand all the expected permit costs.

What is the business concierge service?

This is a free service provided by Council to help businesses with complicated applications (more than one permit) to navigate the application process.

How long will it take to get my permits?

Depending on which permits you are applying for there will be different turnaround times for issuing of permits. 

Additionally, some permits are reliant on the sequence of other permits being issued first.  Some permits, such as Outdoor Trading Permit, are issued immediately once payment is made.  Other permits, such as Statutory Planning Permits are governed by 'statutory' time limits, and may take several months to be approved depending on how many external referrals are required for your particular permit.

Can Council control which businesses open up in a certain area?

Council doesn't control the specific type of businesses that will open up on a particular site, other than ensuring that they comply with the statutory planning requirements for that area.  For example, a new hairdresser can open up next to an existing hairdresser as long as it is allowed under the statutory planning guidelines.

Whether a new business is viable or not, is up to the individual business owners to determine.  In essence, it is left to competitive market forces.

What is the difference between a building permit and a planning permit?

The Planning Permit and Building Permit systems operate under different legislations (The Planning & Environment Act 1987, and the Building Act 1993) and are two very different processes.

When both a Planning Permit and a Building Permit are required for a proposal, then the Planning Permit must be approved and issued before the Building Permit can be issued. The Building Permit must be consistent to the Planning Permit.

Do I need a permit for a home-based business?

You can operate a business from your home without a planning permit as long as you meet the requirements outlined in the Maribyrnong Planning Scheme.

These guidelines are designed to help ensure that the operation of home-based businesses doesn’t have any adverse effects on the neighbourhood. Depending on the home-based business, a planning permit may be required, so it is always worth checking with the Business Concierge if unsure.

Do I need an Environmental Health permit for a home-based business?

Any food or health business must have a current Environmental Health permit regardless of where it is located.

The first step is to check if you need a planning permit for your home-based business. If you are able to operate your business from home you can apply for an Environmental Health permit.