Gain an understanding of the legal, operational and business issues relevant to the manufacturing industry.

The manufacturing industry includes:

  • food 
  • beverage and tobacco
  • textiles, leather, clothing and footwear
  • wood products
  • pulp and paper 
  • printing
  • chemicals including - fertilisers, pesticides, pharmaceutical, medicinal, cleaning products, toiletries, cosmetics, photographic and explosive
  • metals and plastics 
  • machinery and equipment
  • furniture

You should also check our general business information for additional regulations and obligations relevant to your business. For further advice and assistance, contact your accountant, solicitor or business adviser. You may also wish to consult with an industry association or group for more information and advice on your industry.

Legislation, standards and initiatives


You must be aware of the laws that apply to the manufacturing industry.

Key legislation

Manufacturing standards

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:

Packaging and labelling codes and standards

Manufacturers who package goods for distribution must understand specific packaging and labelling codes and standards that are specific to certain goods, including:

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) guides

Search the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS)

Find the licences and permits you need for your manufacturing business.

Taxation


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.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for awards specific to your industry

Workplace Health & Safety (WHS)


All business must comply with general occupational health and safety regulations. The manufacturing industry has specific WHS requirements to safely design and test their products and prevent risks to workers through the production process.

In the event of a work-related accident or illness, you must provide access to first aid, fair workers compensation and return to work rehabilitation.

You may also have a responsibility to provide safety information to end users. You can provide this information through an instruction manual or proper labels.

If a product you manufactured has a design or manufacturing fault, you may need to recall your product.

Environment


Businesses in the manufacturing industry often rely heavily on the environment and see the greatest benefits and impacts. Businesses that make environmentally conscious decision can reduce their impact on the environment. 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.

Insurance


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.

Government organisations


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