Food business licence (Rockhampton) - Queensland


Council is responsible for licensing food premises in accordance with the Food Act 2006 and the Food Safety Standards. The main purpose of the Food Act 2006 is to ensure food for sale is safe and suitable for human consumption. The Food Safety Standards sets out the specific requirements for the food businesses and food handlers that, if complied with, will ensure food does not become unsafe or unsuitable. The standards also set out requirements for food premises and equipment that, if complied with, will facilitate compliance by food businesses with the food safety requirements.

The Act requires Council to monitor the standard of operations in fixed, mobile and temporary food premises. This monitoring is achieved by providing for the licensing of particular food businesses. Compliance with the Act will assist you in providing safe food for your customers.

Who requires a food business licence?

The Food Act 2006 defines a licensable food business as a food business that:

  • Involves the manufacture of food; or
  • Involves the retail sale of unpackaged food and is not a non-profit organisation; or
  • Is carried on by a non-profit organisation and involves the sale of meals prepared by the organisation at a particular place, on at least 12 days each financial year.

Examples of licensable food businesses include (but not limited to):

  • businesses manufacturing food;
  • making food by combining ingredients eg. producing frozen meals in a factory, producing cake mixes;
  • significantly changing the condition or nature of food by any process such as milling, peeling, cutting or freezing;
  • bottling or canning food;
  • packing unpackaged food (other than unprocessed primary produce) eg. packing bulk coffee for wholesale;
  • making ice;
  • businesses that sell unpackaged food by retail;
  • restaurant or delicatessen;
  • catering business;
  • takeaway food outlets;
  • motel providing meals with accommodation;
  • unpackaged food from a vending machine;
  • child care centres;
  • bed breakfasts;
  • hostels;
  • private hospitals and nursing homes.

The definition of a meal is food that:

  • is, or intended to be, eaten by a person sitting at a table, or a fixed structure used as a table, with cutlery; and
  • is of adequate substance as to be ordinarily accepted as a meal.

It is an offence under the Food Act 2006 for a person to carry on a licensable food business without holding a licence to carry on the business.

Mobile food operators

Mobile food operators are only required to hold one food business licence, issued by a council in which you intend to operate.  This licence allows your business to sell food from the mobile premises anywhere in Queensland.  However, you may also require an Itinerant Vendors Licence and/or Standing Stall/Vehicle Licence from each council in which you will operate (these licenses are separate from the licensing requirements under the Food Act 2006).

Service type


A licence defines the need to obtain recognition / certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity.


Who does not require a food business licence?

Even though a food business licence may not be required, the businesses still have a responsibility to ensure the sale of safe and suitable food and an obligation to comply with the Food Safety Standards. This includes the design, construction and fit out of the food premises.

Businesses not requiring a licence include:

  • production of primary produce eg. abattoirs or dairy farms;
  • food businesses conducted by the State or a government owned corporation;
  • tuck shops operated by a parents and citizens association at a State School;
  • handling of food at a persons home that is intended to be given away to a non-profit organisation for sale by the organisation eg. cakes made for fundraising;
  • sale of unpackaged snack food that is not potentially hazardous food eg. corn chips, potato chips, confectionary, nuts, dried or glazed nuts, biscuits and cakes (however the business where the biscuits and cakes are made needs to be licensed);
  • sale of whole fruit or vegetables;
  • sale of drinks, other than fruit or vegetable juice processed at the place of sale eg. tea, coffee, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks;
  • sale of ice including flavoured ice;
  • provision of meals by a non-profit organisation if the meals consists only of fruit, cereal, toast or similar food;
  • provisions of meal by a non-profit organisation if the consumer of the meal helps prepare it;
  • sale of unpackaged food, not considered to be a meal, by a non-profit organisation eg. barbeque sausage sizzle;
  • provision of meals by a non-profit organisation that are prepared by an entity other than the organisation and are stored and heated or otherwise prepared by the organisation in accordance with directions of the meals manufacturer.

Eligibility requirements

Food safety supervisors

The Food Act 2006 requires every licensable food business in Queensland to have a food safety supervisor.  Licensees are required to notify the local government that issues the licence, of the name and contact details of the food safety supervisor for the food business within 30 days of the licence being issued. 

Food premises 

There are requirements that must be met for the design and fit-out of the food premises to ensure it is appropriate for the operation of a food business. 

Food handlers

There are also requirements for all food handlers for the food business to have a level of skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene appropriate for their work activities at the food business.


This licence remains in effect for a period of no greater than 3 years as determined by council.

Application process

In addition to the completed application form, you must submit the appropriate fee as well as plans drawn to scale and that provide an accurate representation of the layout of the food premises. 

You may be required to include:

  • a site plan
  • floor plan
  • sectional elevations
  • hydraulic plans
  • mechanical exhaust ventilation plans (if applicable)
  • transport vehicle plan (if applicable).

All applications and associated documentation for the licence must be directed to council for the area in which you intend to operate your food business.

A site inspection may be undertaken by the council environmental health officer to determine compliance with design and fit-out requirements for the food premises.

Transfer process

This licence cannot be transferred.

Additional information

Food safety programs

The following food businesses are required to have a food safety program accredited by the local government:

  • the food business involves off-site catering
  • the primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at the premises stated in the licence
  • the primary activity of the food business is on-site catering at part of the premises stated in the licence to cater for 200 or more people on 12 or more occasions in any 12 month period
  • the food business is carried on as part of the operations of a private hospital or otherwise processes or serves potentially hazardous food to six or more vulnerable persons (e.g. a child care centre or aged care facility).

Food businesses that are required to have an accredited food safety program are required to have an audit conducted by an appropriate auditor approved by the Department of Health within the first six months of accreditation, then at a frequency determined by the local government.

If you operate any other type of food business (other than mentioned above) and you wish to have a food safety program accredited, you may submit your program to your local government.

Please note that licence fees may vary between local governments.

Please contact your local government for further information.

Administering agency

Rockhampton Regional Council

Contact details

Contact Email, Phone and Address Details for this service in simple two column table format, header then data.

Please use these contact details for help or more information:

Rockhampton Regional Council

Operating address: Gracemere Office
1 Ranger Street
Operating address: Rockhampton Office
232 Bolsover Street
Queensland 4700
Operating address: Mount Morgan Office
32 Hall Street
Mount Morgan Q 4714
Mailing address: PO BOX 1860
Rockhampton, Queensland 4700
Phone: 1300 225 577
Fax: 1300 225 579
Website: Rockhampton Regional Council (Opens in new window)