Business types in this industry

The manufacturing industry includes a broad range of businesses engaged in a wide variety of activities. They include small manufacturers producing limited quantities of items as well as businesses involved in large scale production of manufactured goods.

The manufacturing industry includes:

  • food processing and manufacturing
  • beverages including brewed and bottled drinks
  • textiles, leather, clothing, footwear and accessories
  • wood products
  • pulp and paper products
  • printing including small and large production runs
  • chemical manufacturing and processing including fertilisers, pesticides, pharmaceutical, medicinal, cleaning products, toiletries, cosmetics, photographic and explosives
  • metal and plastics manufacturing
  • machinery and equipment manufacturing including parts
  • furniture manufacturing
  • household goods production
  • any manufacturing of a whole or partial product

Legislation, standards and initiatives

You must be aware of the laws that apply to the manufacturing industry including items specific to the goods you produce and the processes involved.

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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.


The manufacturing industry has specific Goods and Services Tax (GST) measures. Know your GST obligations and register with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to ensure you can claim your GST credits.

Visit the ATO website to learn more about the GST requirements for food producers in the manufacturing industry.

Certain Inputs to Manufacture

The Certain Inputs to Manufacture program provides import duty concessions on certain imported raw materials and intermediate goods, such as chemical, plastics or paper products. The program also covers metal materials and goods used for food packaging.

Employ people

If you employ staff, you need to comply with Australia’s national workplace laws specific to the manufacturing industry.

Use our checklist for small business owners to help you meet Australian laws when hiring an employee. We’ve also included some tips that might help you through the hiring process.

If you're ready to employ someone, create an employment contract tailored to the award and your business needs.

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:

Learn more about state-specific WHS requirements.


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

Intellectual property

As well as trade marks, manufacturing businesses may have other relevant IP rights:

  • Patents protect a method, device or system that is new and inventive
  • Confidentiality/trade secrets stop employees from revealing secret knowledge during and after their employment.
  • Registered designs protects the visual appearance of a manufactured product by preventing others from using the design without permission.
  • Circuit layout rights automatically protects original layout designs for integrated circuits and computer chips.

Learn more about the IP options available to you.


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

  • General 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.

Further advice and assistance

Check our general business information for additional regulations and obligations relevant to your business.

For further advice and assistance, consider contacting your accountant, solicitor, business adviser or industry association.