Establishing a new business?

All licensable food businesses including fixed premises, mobile premises and temporary premises are required to be licensed by Council. If you wish to operate a licensable food business in the Livingstone Shire Local Government area you are required to obtain a licence from Council by applying to the Environmental Health Unit. The following information will assist you in ensuring your application is complete and that you have considered everything that is required to apply for a food business licence. You can lodge your application online here.

  • All licensed food businesses are required to have a qualified Food Safety Supervisor. 
  • Some licensed food businesses are also required to have an accredited Food Safety Program.

Establishing a food business premises whether in a new or existing building requires compliance with a range of legislation. Application may be needed for each of the areas listed below depending on the nature of the food business. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all these areas have been investigated.

The food business may also require: 

  • Before you make a decision on the premises you intend to start a food business from it is recommended to book pre-lodgement with one of Council’s Environmental Health Officers. The Environmental Health Officer can meet on site to answer questions and discuss the premises against the Food Safety Standards requirements.

    The aim of the pre-lodgement is to provide you with information on the potential of the premises to be a food business and issues you should consider with regards to the premises to ensure compliance with the Food Safety Standards. Approval will not be provided at the visit.

    If you wish to book a pre-lodgement with one of Council’s Environmental Health Officers please contact Council. 

  • The set up and operation of a food business, must comply with the Food Act 2006, the Food Safety Standards, and the Australian Standard 4674-2004 (Design, construction and fit out of food premises). Knowledge and understanding of these requirements is necessary to adequately design and construct a food business and ensure the premise:

    • is easy to clean and maintain
    • has sufficient space, facilities, and equipment to undertake their activities in a manner that produces safe and suitable food
    • has services such as potable water, effective sewage disposal, and sufficient light and ventilation for food handling operations
    • has adequate facilities for food handling staff to maintain personal hygiene and equipment cleanliness to a standard that will protect food against contamination
    • is designed to prevent the entry of pests and pest harbourage.

    The guides below are a useful tool for designing, renovating or fitting out a food business depending if the premise is fixed, mobile or temporary. 

    Fit Out Guides


  • To make an application for Food Business Licence with Council, you must submit a fully completed form with supporting documentation and the relevant fee. If your food business is required to have an accredited Food Safety Program, you must apply for this at the same time using the same form.

    The applicant for the Food Business Licence must be a legal entity ie. a person or a company. A business name or trading name is not a legal entity and cannot be the licence holder.

    Council will process your application within 30 days. You will be contacted should additional information be required to process the application; this will extend the processing timeframes. You will be notified when a decision has been made regarding your application. If Council decides to refuse the application, an information notice will be given outlining the reason for the decision.

    Please note Food Business Licences with Council do not have a pro-rate fee and are valid from 1st July to 30th June the following year.

    Application Checklist for Establishing and Operating a New Food Business

    Food Business Licence Application

  • When approved, you can then carry out any proposed works (eg. construction or fit out) in accordance with the approved application. When you are close to completing the construction of the premises you will need to contact Council's Environmental Health Unit to arrange a final inspection. This inspection is to determine whether the premises comply with the Food Safety Standard 3.2.3 and any specific conditions put on the food business licence. You cannot open your business until the premise has had a final inspection and approval has been obtained.

    Within two months of your food business opening, or taking over a business, Council’s Environmental Health Officers will visit you to discuss food handling processes, health and hygiene requirements, cleaning, sanitising and maintenance practices. Educational material will also be provided. This is a good opportunity for you to ask the Environmental Health Officer any questions you may have regarding your food business.

  • You have a responsibility to ensure the sale of safe and suitable food and an obligation to comply with the Food Act 2006 and Food Safety Standards. You must also comply with all licence conditions at all times and:

    • Have an accredited food safety program if required under section 99 of the Food Act 2006. Comply with the accredited food safety program and allow an             auditor to have reasonable access to the premises to conduct audits 
    • Display the food business licence or a copy of the licence in a prominent position on the premises so the details are easily visible to persons at the premises
    • Ensure the premises comply with the Food Standards Code - Food Safety Standard 3.2.3
    • Allow an authorised person to have reasonable access to the premises during normal business hours for the food business
    • Comply with any other reasonable conditions that Council considers appropriate.


    Environmental Health Officers are not required to make appointments to conduct inspections of your food business. Under the Food Act 2006 an Environmental Health Officer is allowed to enter your food business whenever it is open to the public or when food handling practices are being conducted. When an inspection is completed you will be advised in writing of any non-compliance, action(s) required and time frames in which you must comply. If you are unable to meet the specified time frames please contact the inspecting Environmental Health Officer.

    Food premises that require additional follow up inspections for compliance matters will be charged a fee in accordance with current fees and charges each time an inspection is required.

    Environmental Health Officers are always available to offer advice to licensees and staff regarding compliance with the Food Act 2006 and the Food Safety Standards. There are a range of tools below that may be useful in ensuring your food business complies with legislative requirements. 

Buying or Renovating an Existing Food Business

If you are planning to purchase a licensable food business, you will need to determine whether the business holds a current licence and the current status of the premises. Council cannot give any information about a food business to anyone without permission of the licensee.

To determine the licence status and find out if there are any outstanding requisitions or outstanding fees owed by the business, a public health search can be completed using the property search form. There are three types of searches as follows:

  • Activity Facility Records Search - Current status of licence/registration records only (does not include an inspection report).
  • Single Activity/Facility Search and Inspection - Current status of licence/registration records and current inspection report where applicable. Applications must be accompanied by the relevant fee and consent of the licence/registration holder.
  • Multiple Activity/ Facility Search and Inspection - Current status of licence/registration records and current inspection report where applicable for multiple activities at the one premise (eg. EA and Food Licence on the one premise). Applications must be accompanied by the relevant fee and consent of the licence/registration holder.

To amend the licence into another person's name, an Application for Amendment of Food Business Licence and relevant fee must be submitted to Council. This form must be signed by both the current licensee and the proposed licensee and accompanied by the relevant fee.

Renovating, relocating or making changes to an existing food business

If you intend to renovate or refurbish an existing premise, you may be required to make an Application for Amendment of Food Business Licence and submit to Council with the relevant fee and required information as outlined in the application form. 

The process of assessing the application is the same as making an Application for a Food Business Licence. Please notify Council of any proposed changes before construction commences and to determine if an application for amendment of food business licence is required.