COVID-19 changes - excisable alcohol

Since 23 March 2020, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has not been taking compliance action in certain alcohol repackaging circumstances that would normally require you to have an excise manufacturer licence and pay excise duty

The ATO has now extended this support arrangement to 31 January 2021 in recognition of the ongoing impacts COVID-19 is having on the alcohol industry.

This applies to alcohol service venues (for example, clubs, pubs and restaurants) that are allowed to sell takeaway alcohol under state and territory liquor licensing arrangements while they are subject to COVID-19 restrictions. For example, where the four-square metre rule applies or there are limits on the number of patrons allowed in an enclosed space.

Learn more about the COVID-19 changes – excisable alcohol on the ATO website.

Businesses types in this industry

The accommodation industry includes:

  • hotels
  • motels
  • serviced apartments
  • other short-term accommodation for visitors

The food services industry includes:

  • cafes
  • restaurants
  • takeaways
  • pubs
  • bars
  • other businesses that sell meals, snacks and beverages

COVID19 support

If your business has been affected by COVID-19, you can find financial assistance and support on our coronavirus information and support page.

COVID-19 work health and safety for your industry

It’s important to keep workers safe and limit the spread of COVID-19. You can find the latest information and resources for your industry on the Safe Work Australia website.

Legislation, standards and initiatives

It’s important that you are aware of the laws that apply to the accommodation and food services industry. Key legislation includes:

Industry guides to the law

Check the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's (ACCC) guides for more information:

Licences and permits

State or territory governments manage the licences and permits for the accommodation and food services industry. The licences and permits you may need include:

  • preparing and/or selling food
  • selling and/or consumption of alcohol
  • erecting/displaying signage
  • restricted trading days
  • outdoor dining 
  • playing video/sound recordings
  • disposal of waste

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.


Accommodation and food services industry 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.

Other ATO resources

The ATO provides a range of industry benchmarks which may be of assistance when setting up or managing your business. Visit ATO Accommodation and Food industry Benchmarks to learn more.

Learn more about the GST requirements for a food services business.

Employing people

If you employ staff, you need to comply with Australia’s national workplace laws specific to the accommodation and food services industry.

Browse a list of industry and occupation awards to find the one that applies to your industry.

Workplace health and safety (WHS)

There are general work health and safety regulations for all businesses. The accommodation and food services industry also have state-specific WHS requirements, including

  • occupational noise management
  • standards for protective clothing and equipment
  • standards for occupational safety signage
  • national standard for manual handling 
  • prevention of burns from hot liquids, surfaces or steam
  • prevention and response to workplace bullying 
  • prevention of workplace violence (such as robbery)
  • electrical safety

Learn more about state-specific WHS requirements.

Government organisations

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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.

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Find out more about insurance options for your business.