Understand your permit requirements


Planning permits provide assessment and permission for a change in use of a building or the development of land.

Our Statutory Planning team assesses planning permits and subdivisions and provides advice for land use.

A planning permit may be required for various aspects of running a business such as;

  • Changing the business type or using the land in a different purpose to how it is now
  • Changing the trading hours of your business
  • Applying for or altering a current liquor licence
  • Adding or changing signage
  • Works to a heritage listed building (including minor works like painting)
  • Changes to car parking, or the access from the main road

    Changes introduced by State Government mean that from 19 September 2014 there are two streams of planning permit applications:

  • Those assessed under the standard planning process.
  • Those assessed under the new VicSmart planning provisions.

Applications that meet the VicSmart criteria are generally simple applications that have a 10-day assessment timeframe. It is important you understand which type of application you need to apply for as the application form and information that is required to be submitted with your application will be different.

When applying for a planning permit it is important to discuss your application with a planning officer or Business Approvals Support Team to guide you through the process to ensure that you understand all the requirements specific to your business.


Nearly anything that is built requires a building permit. Building permits enforce regulations that are designed to protect your building and those who occupy it. Baw Baw Shire Council does not issue Building Permits and you will need to contact a private registered building surveyor to complete an application. 

We do have some advice for businesses to determine if you may require a building permit, if you are wishing to undertake any of the below works then there is a high chance a building permit will be required:

  • Any internal fit outs or alterations on your premise
  • Any structural alteration to the exterior of the building (including increasing window and door sizes)
  • Increasing the number of people that can occupy your building at any one time
  • Changing the business use from what is currently is
  • Altering any essential safety measures (i.e fire hydrants, fire hose reels, exit signs, emergency lighting or paths of travel to an exit). 

If you’re looking for more information the Victorian Building Authority is the regulator for Victoria’s Building Industries and has some great information about when building permits will and will not be required. 

If you do need to change the use of the building, you should seek professional advice in relation to what modifications may be required for the proposed use along with the practical aspects of this work and associated costs.

Some aspects to consider include locations and number of patrons/staff sanitary facilities, equitable access to the building and facilities (i.e. access for people with disabilities), upgrades to fire safety equipment and ability to install necessary fixtures (i.e. grease traps and commercial kitchen flues). It is recommended that you engage a building surveyor or designer to provide project feasibility and advice prior to committing to a building or tenancy (leasing or buying).

More information can be found on the Victorian Building Authority website.

A list of Gippsland based building surveyors can be located on the Yellow Pages or you can search for building surveyors in your suburb.

Please note if you are applying for multiple permits our Business Approvals Support Team can guide you through your permit process within Council.  

Public Health

Our public health team ensures the safety and registration of all health and accommodation-based businesses, these include (but not limited to!) food related businesses, tattooists, beauty therapy, piercing or skin penetration, hostels, B&B’s and camps.

  • Food Businesses (Links with information below)
  • Health Related Business, such as beauty services and tattooing (Links with information below)
  • Accommodation businesses including hostels, B&B’s, camps, etc. (Links with information below)
  • Septic Tanks (Links with information below)

It’s important to note that if you are looking to buy an existing food, accommodation, beauty, tattooist or other health business, you will need to get the current owner to complete a section of the form to transfer the business into your name.

There may be other Council, state, federal, or other regulating agencies who have input or require your registration including the Victorian Commission for gambling and liquor if you intend to have gambling machines or liquor.

When applying for a health permit it is important to discuss your application with a health officer or Business Approvals Support Team to guide you through the process to ensure that you understand all the requirements specific to your business.

Food Related Businesses

If you are opening a food-related business, you will need to register your premises.

  • For a fixed-location food business (including home-based premises), you will need to submit a permit to Council, if you are ready to apply you can find the form here.
  • For a temporary or mobile premise, you need to apply for a permit using: streatrader.health.vic.gov.au
  • If your business primarily involves the manufacturing or production of dairy, red meat, poultry or seafood, you will need to register your business with Dairy Food Safety Victoria (dairysafe.vic.gov.au) or PrimeSafe (primesafe.vic.gov.au) instead of Council.

The Food Act 1984 (the Act) regulates the sale of food and beverages for human consumption. Under this Act, food businesses are categorised into class 1, 2, 3 or 4 and must adhere to their class requirements to operate and sell food to the Victorian public. To determine which class your business falls under see the table below.



Examples include (but not limited to)

Class 1

Food being prepared or served exclusively for vulnerable groups.

Aged care service, Hospital, Child care or Meals on Wheels service


Food premises selling or handling unpackaged food requiring temperature control.

Cafés, delis, take-away premises, restaurants or any home-based businesses that manufacture high risk food

Community group or not for profit preparing high risk food

Supermarket or manufacturer

Sporting club and other food business handling unpackaged high-risk food

Class 3

Food premises selling or handling unpackaged food that does not require temperate control and/or pre-packaged food requiring temperature control

Grocer that only sells cut fruit, vegetables and/or packaged food

Home-based business selling low risk baked products such as cakes without cream, custard

Wholesaler / distributor / importer of food (package food that does not require temperature control)

Class 4


Activities considered to be very low risk such as the sale of shelf stable pre-packaged foods, sale of uncut fruit and vegetables, and sausage sizzles.

All Class 4 applications can be lodged online through streatrader.health.vic.gov.au

Health Related Businesses

All hairdressing, beauty therapy or skin penetration (body or ear piercing, tattooing or electrolysis) businesses must be registered under the Public Health & Well Being Act 2008. 

These types of business generally fall under three categories:

Low Risk

Hairdresser/barber, Makeup, Spray tans or Facial and body treatments

Medium Risk

Manicure/pedicure, Hair removal (electrolysis/IPL/laser/wax/threading) and Ear piercing (gun only)

High Risk

Body piercing or other skin penetration procedures, Tattooing/removal – includes permanent or semi-permanent makeup or cosmetic tattooing, Dry needling and Colonic irrigation

New businesses must be inspected by the Council's Public Health Team prior to operation or prior to a transfer of ownership. Regular inspections of these businesses are also carried out to ensure appropriate standards are maintained. A complete list of the standards can be found on the Department of Health's website.

Accommodation Businesses 

If you are starting a new accommodation business, you will need to register your business with Council to ensure that your business in compliant with the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.

Prescribed accommodation applies to accommodation facilities such as residential accommodation, hotels and motels, hostels, student dormitories, rooming houses and holiday camps that accommodate six or more people. These facilities must be registered with Council.

If you are purchasing an existing accommodation business, you must contact Council to arrange a transfer inspection to be completed.

Septic Tanks

If you are opening or expanding a business in an area not connected to the sewer system you may be required to install or maintain a septic system.

The greater Baw Baw area is known for its natural landscapes, agricultural productivity and successful communities. Part of protecting these values includes the sustainable management of onsite domestic wastewater (septic systems). The Baw Baw Shire Council manages onsite domestic wastewater in accordance with the Environment Protection Act 1970.

If the business you are looking to purchase currently has a septic system installed it is well worth getting it inspected by a registered plumber and having a chat with our public health them to ensure the system is compliant, clean and any additional works that may be required.

For new systems there is a two-step process in gaining the permission to operate a septic system. Step One involves applying to install or alter a system. If successful you will be given a Permit to Install the system. Step Two involves the granting of a Permit to Use the system, and if the Public Health Department are satisfied the system has been installed in accordance with the Permit to Install. 


Council’s Compliance team look after issues such as litter, community Local Laws and footpath trading. Council’s main role in footpath trading is to ensure that there is no risk to pedestrians or traffic and ensuring there is clear access for all users.

Before you apply, ensure your liability insurance is current, to be eligible for a permit it is important you have public liability insurance.

You will need a permit if you are looking to:

  • Have an A-Frame sign, or other type of sign out the front of your business
  • Outdoor dining areas
  • Additional works outside the front of your business, such as umbrellas, pots and planter boxes
  • A display of goods out the front of your business

Click to apply for a permit.

Economic Development and Tourism

The Economic Development Team is the first contact for many businesses. Our team's role is to support businesses through the process of starting and/or growing their businesses and ensure any requests for assistance or information are dealt with as efficiently and effectively as possible.

We host regular training and business events, advocate on behalf of businesses and support them through the legal requirements of starting a business both within Council and beyond.  

Our team also provides a Business Support Service, a single point of contact, a member of our team who is committed to supporting business and can help you get all the advice you need before you apply for a permit. This includes liaising with all the teams inside Council to ensure you are getting expert advice and supporting your business the whole way through the permit approval process.  To take advantage of this service reach out to the Business Approvals Support Team, via live chat, email or call during business hours on 1300 BAW BAW.

In short, we love the businesses in Baw Baw Shire and appreciate all the hard work business owners commit to starting and continuing to run their businesses and see ourselves playing an important role of supporting the challenging and rewarding journey every business owner is on.