Overview of Business Permit Regulations

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.

The following provides an overview of the permit types that Council is responsible for:

Environmental Health

Environmental Health permits are required for any food or health related businesses (for example:  Restaurants, cafes, bars, take-away food, food manufacturers, bakeries, hair dressing, massage, nail clinics, beauty salons, home-based food production, mobile food vans etc).

Food businesses

Ensuring safe food is provided to the community across the City is a high priority for Council. Council is committed to assisting new food business proprietors understand food safety requirements along with Council’s approval process. As part of this process, all applicants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with Council’s Information Kit - New Food Premises, as this information will be relevant to your application and bring this along to the meeting with any questions you may have.  The Information Kit - New Food Premises is available for download below.

Home occupation/residential businesses

If you wish to operate a business from home, you will need to enquire as to whether your home is suitable. Class 3 low risk food businesses (refer to the Information Kit - New Food Premises available for download below) and your home kitchen will need to meet the requirements of the Food Standards, in order to convert your domestic kitchen into a commercial operation.

Based on the type of food processes and foods wanting to be produced e.g., Class 1 & 2 high risk food businesses ie. Cafes & restaurants, etc (refer to the Information Kit - New Food Premises available for download below) your residential home may not be suitable for commercial operations. Converting your residential kitchen to a commercial operation will require a purpose built facility, meeting the Food Standards Code and other permit requirements. e.g., Planning, Building and City West Water.

Please note: If you are renting you will require approval by the owner or the Body Corporation to operate a food business from a residential premises prior to any works being carried out.

Mobile and temporary food businesses

Food businesses (including mobile food businesses) may wish to operate a temporary food premises on occasion. E.g. attend a festival and sell food.

To legally operate a temporary or mobile food premises in Victoria, you must make application online through Foodtrader (Foodtrader is operated by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and is a statewide registration process):

  • Foodtrader New Application: will require you to either register or notify your temporary and mobile food premises with Council online in order to operate anywhere in Victoria. Council will contact you once your application is received to make a time to discuss your transfer.
  • Foodtrader Transfer Application (Change of Principle Council): If you wish to transfer your currently registered food business, please make application on Foodtrader. Council will contact you once your application is received to make a time to discuss your transfer.

Visit the Foodtrader website

Please note: Any proposal may require other permits e.g., city west water, planning, building and local laws. This will be discussed at a pre-application meeting coordinated by Council’s Business Concierge with relevant council officers.  We will continue these meetings as part of the application process.

Health businesses

Health Businesses wanting to operate from a commercial or residential premises, must meet all the health requirements along with Planning and Building requirements. Based on the risk of the operation, a purpose built facility may be required before approval can be given.

For further information download the DHHS Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines

Please note: If you are renting you will require approval by the owner or the Owners' Corporation to operate a health business from a residential premises prior to any works being carried out.

Related Information

City Planning

In certain instances, a proposed business may trigger a planning permit under the Maribyrnong Planning Scheme. A planning permit is a legal document that gives permission for a use or development on a particular piece of land. A planning permit is not a building permit.

Once you have found a suitable location for your business (prior to signing a lease), you should contact the City Planning Department or Business Concierge on 9688 0200 to find out whether the location is appropriate and whether a planning permit is triggered by your proposal.

All conditions contained in planning permits must be complied with.  Any breach of permit conditions may be subject to enforcement action.

Related Information

Building Services

Council is responsible for ensuring developments in the municipality meet the statutory requirements under the Building Act 1993 and the Building Regulations and that the city is a safe place to live for all members of the public.

If you are carrying out new building works, including renovating or altering an existing building or changing the use of an existing building you will need a building permit before you commence the works. It is important that you consult with an independent Building Surveyor to provide any advice and obtain the required Building Permits and approvals relating to the proposed building works or occupation, prior to committing to a specific site and avoiding unnecessary costs or delays to your planned open date.

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) and Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) both have search functions to help locate a registered Building Surveyor within Victoria. To visit the VBA or AIBS websites please see links below.

You do not need to engage a building surveyor located within your local municipality as long as the surveyor is registered in Victoria they are qualified to provide regulatory advice and any building approvals should they be required. For most buildings, the Building Surveyors registration number can be either BS-L or BS-U, for any buildings exceeding 2,000m2 in floor area or over 3 storeys in height only a Building Surveyor with a BS-U registration is qualified to provide advice.

Related Information

Local Laws

Council administers a number of Local Laws designed to protect the safety, health and wellbeing of everyone in the municipality.

Your business may require permits for items on a footpath such as:

  • A-framed advertising signs
  • Tables and chairs
  • Barriers
  • Windbreaks
  • Goods display
  • Waste skips.

Related Information