Doing Business in Australia

It has stable institutions, transparent regulatory systems, a highly skilled labour market, and favourable international reputation. 

According to a 2020 World Bank survey, Australia is ranked:  

  • 14th for ease of doing business
  • 4th for availability of credit for business purposes 
  • 6th for its business practices 
  • 7th for its efficiency to establish a business 

What are the primary industries for each Australian State and Territory?

  • Natural minerals
  • Petroleum
  • Agri-foods 
  • Specialised manufactured goods 
  • Construction 
  • Government and community services
  • Mining 
  • Energy
  • Construction 
  • Professional scientific and technical services
  • Agriculture
  • Forestry 
  • Fishing
  • Mining and resources
  • Urban development and infrastructure
  • Food and agribusiness
  • Knowledge industries
  • Tourism 
  • Advanced manufacturing.
  • Traditional manufacturing 
  • Mining 
  • Agribusiness and aquaculture
  • Biotechnology 
  • Information and Communication Technology (‘ICT’) 
  • Viticulture
  • Financial Services and FinTech
  • Defence
  • Space exploration 
  • Cyber security 
  • AgriTech 
  • Renewable energy 
  • ICT 
  • E-gov 
  • Education 
  • Tourism
  • Creative industries
  • Digital technologies
  • Food and fibre
  • International education
  • Medical technologies and pharmaceuticals
  • New energy technologies
  • Professional services
  • Retail and supply chain and logistics
  • Tourism, events, and visitor economy
  • Transport, defence, and construction technologies
  • Antarctic and Southern Ocean exploration
  • Cultural and tourism industry development
  • Food and agribusiness
  • Forestry
  • Renewable energy
  • Science

Things to consider when establishing a business in Australia

  1. Sole trader
  2. Partnership
  3. Proprietary company
  4. Public company
  5. Trust
  1. Australian Company Number (‘ACN‘) from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (‘ASIC’)*
  2. Australian Business Number (‘ABN’) from the Australian Business Registry (‘ABR’)
  3. Tax File Number (‘TFN’) from the Australian Tax Office (‘ATO’)
 

* Sole Traders are required  to hold an ABN and TFN.

Companies must notify ASIC as to whether they will adopt their own Constitution or use the ‘model rules’ contained in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). The model rules can be used if a company does not require any special provisions in their Constitution. 

ASIC must also be provided with officeholder and shareholder details.  

Australian businesses may be subject to the following taxation obligations:

  1. Goods and Services Tax (‘GST’) is calculated at 10% and applies to the sale of most goods or services. 
  2. Pay as You Go (‘PAYG’) is the income tax component for the salary for each employee. 
  3. Whilst superannuation is not strictly a tax, employers are obligated to contribute at least 10% of an employee’s wage to their nominated superannuation fund. 
  4. Fringe Benefit Tax (‘FBT’) applies when certain benefits are provided to employees, their family, or other associates. It can also apply if the benefit is provided by a third party
  5. Capital Gains Tax (‘CGT’) is the net capital gain on the disposal of a company asset and forms part of the assessable income of both the company and the individual. 
  6. The income company tax rate is 30% for large companies and 25% for small or medium companies

If an Australian business is wholly, or partially, owned by a foreign entity, it must be approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board (‘FIRB’). This requirement does not apply to individuals.

Funding 

Common funding options in Australia include: 

  1. Loans, credit facilities, and overdraft accounts 
  2. Government grants (local, state, or Federal)
  3. Angel investors
  4. Venture capital and private equity
Staffing

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) regulates employment law in Australia. This legislation established the Fair Work Commission, which has the power to adjudicate disputes between employers and employees. Employment law disputes can also go before the Federal Courts. 

Protecting Intellectual Property

IP Australia reviews and approves trademark and design applications. If copyright exists, it is automatically protected in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Those that wish to register a patent will need to meet the requirements of the Patent Act 1990 (Cth).

Infringements of IP rights held in Australia are adjudicated by the Federal Courts.   

Consumer Laws

The Australian Consumer Laws govern activities such as refunds, misleading, deceptive, and unconscionable conduct. These laws can hold an employer liable for acts or omissions committed by employees. 

Debt Recovery 

The entities that can negotiate or enforce a debt dispute include:

  1. Mediation and arbitration centres
  2. Tribunals 
  3. The courts

Ready to start your journey to become an Australian resident?