Business types in this industry

The manufacturing industry includes businesses that transform materials into new products. This includes businesses who create or process:  

  • food and beverages
  • tobacco products
  • textiles, leather, clothing and footwear
  • wood, pulp and paper products
  • printed goods
  • chemical products  
  • metal and plastics manufacturing
  • machinery and equipment
  • furniture and household goods 

Legislation, standards and initiatives

It’s important that you’re aware of the laws that apply to the manufacturing industry. Key legislation is outlined in this section.

In additional to legislation, you should understand the manufacturing and processing standards to ensure your products, services and systems are safe and reliable. These standards include:

Find the licences and permits you need for your business

Search the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to find information on the licences you may need.

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Manufacturing businesses have specific goods and services tax (GST) measures. It’s important that you know your GST obligations and to make sure you register with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to ensure you can claim your GST credits. 

Workplace health and safety (WHS)

There are general work health and safety regulations for all businesses, however there are state and territory WHS requirements that apply to businesses in the manufacturing industry:

Ban on engineered stone

You can't use, supply or manufacture engineered stone benchtops, panels and slabs from 1 July 2024.

Until the ban starts, you can work with engineered stone in a controlled way. 

Learn about the ban on engineered stone on the Safe Work Australia website.


Businesses in the manufacturing industry can have a major impact on the environment. Businesses that make environmentally conscious decisions can reduce this impact. They can also benefit from greater community awareness which leads to consumers making more environmentally friendly purchases.

The main environmental issues that businesses in the manufacturing industry should understand include:

  • dealing with resource shortages
  • sustainable practices
  • environmental reporting
  • proper disposal of trade waste
  • biodegradable packaging options
  • waste management and reduction.

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water has tips for reducing your energy costs in their manufacturing industry sector guide

Intellectual property

It is important to protect your intellectual property when starting and growing your business. ‘Intellectual property’ (IP) is the creation of original ideas, inventions or brands.

You may need to consider applying for a: 

  • trademark to protect your brand
  • patent to protect a new invention
  • design right, to protect the visual appearance of a product.

These rights can be applied for through IP Australia.

In Australia, you have automatic protection in relation to:

  • copyright, protecting drawings, art, literature, music, film, broadcasts, computer programs
  • trade secret rights, protecting secret formulas, processes and methods
  • circuit layout rights, protecting layout designs for integrated circuits and computer chips


Alongside compulsory insurances, the manufacturing industry has specific insurances. These insurances include:

  • General liability
  • Product liability
  • Public liability
  • Assets and revenue insurance
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Machinery breakdown insurance
  • Business interruption insurance.

Insurance can help you protect your business in case of machinery breakdown, consumer product liability and property damage or theft.

Find support

 If you need advice or support, consider getting help from your industry association, a business adviser, accountant or legal professional.

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