Approvals needed to establish a food business

Establishing a food business premises whether in a new or existing building requires compliance with a number of separate Acts which may be applicable when planning, designing and constructing or altering the building involved.

Each component of your operation is regulated by a separate legislative instrument (State Government Act and/or Regulation).

Application may be needed for:

Planning Approval by Planning and Compliance Unit

Building Approval by Building Services (or Private Certifier)

Food Business Licence by Environmental Health Services

Trade Waste Approval by Plumbing Services

Plumbing and Drainage Permit by Plumbing Services

Local Laws Approval by Regulatory Services


Planning Approval

Development Planning can provide you advise regarding your chosen property. In particular, the Planners can help you determine if your proposed development:

  • fits the definition of the current use of property
  • is compatible with the current zoning (including existing use rights)
  • does not intensify the use of the property.


Building Approval

Council’s Building Services or a Private Certifier will assist you to determine if your chosen property has the appropriate building approvals and building classification in order to be occupied in the manner in which you propose.

Criteria which require determination in relation to your proposed use may include, but is not limited to:

  • existing building classification and compatibility with your proposed use of the building;
  • provision of adequate fire safety requirements (emergency exits, fire safety equipment);
  • accessibility requirements for persons with disabilities;
  • lighting;
  • ventilation (including mechanical ventilation of cooking area, if applicable);
  • provision for sufficient toilet amenities where required;
  • structural requirements (where alterations to building are intended).

By discussing the content of your plans, specifications and FULL details of intended operation, you can be advised:

  • whether aspects of your proposal require further building approvals;
  • how to obtain a building permit if required;
  • why approval is necessary.


Food Business Licence

To ensure that food for sale is safe and suitable for human consumption, anyone operating a food business must comply with the Food Act 2006 and the Food Safety Standards. The standards set out requirements for food premises and equipment which will influence how you plan the layout of your business. Influencing factors which must be considered include:

  • your fully detailed food menu
  • materials and finishes proposed
  • equipment you intend utilising
  • waste disposal
  • mechanical exhaust ventilation (where applicable, also a building requirement)
  • fixtures and fittings proposed.

Refer to the Applying for Food Business Licence on Council’s website.


Trade Waste Approval

Liquid waste generated by industry, small business and commercial enterprises is referred to as trade waste.  The Water (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 prohibits the unauthorised discharge of wastes, other than domestic sewage, into the sewerage system. The options for producers of trade waste are:

  • to have it treated at an approved treatment facility
  • obtain approval from Council to discharge to the sewerage system
  • obtain an environmental authority under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 to treat the waste themselves before discharge to the environment.

Application can be made to Council for the discharge of Trade Waste to a non-sewered site (allotment) into a waste water facility, under a performance solution.

Written approval must be obtained from Council to discharge any trade waste from food premises into Council’s sewerage system or into a waste water facility.  In order to obtain approval, a means of treating the waste prior to discharging will be required depending on the nature of the waste. Factors which influence the requirement for treatment include, but are not limited to:

  • detailed menu information on what’s involved in food preparation
  • cooking process to be undertaken
  • trade waste quantity including daily volume and discharge rate
  • trade waste quality including fat, oil and grease content, temperature, and other contaminants
  • plumbing fixtures in the food preparation, cooking and/or service areas.


Plumbing and Drainage Permit

The installation of all plumbing fixtures (and those which discharge trade waste) require a compliance permit to be issued by Councils Plumbing Section prior to commencement of work.

Information which must be included in an application for compliance assessment for plumbing and drainage work is detailed in Plumbing Checklist Class 2-9 Commercial work 


Regulatory Services (Local Laws)

Council’s Regulatory Services can provide advice and assess applications for:           

•           footpath dining on Council controlled areas and roads and

•           display of goods on Council controlled areas and roads

To apply for an approval click here.

While approvals are granted by each department in isolation, this information is prepared to assist you in receiving approvals or permits that complement each other to enable a smooth transition from proposal to your trading day.

Each of the Council staff involved has the same objective in ensuring that all statutory requirements are complied with for the benefit of your business, the welfare of your customers and the community.

If you have questions about whether your project requires any of the above approvals:


Talk with us in person

Planning and Development Customer Service Counter

8:30am – 4:30pm

29 Channon Street, Gympie 4570


Call us

1300 307 800


Email us

Planning Approval -

Building Approval -

Food Business Licence -

Trade Waste Approval -

Plumbing and Drainage Permit -

Local Laws Approval -