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Advice for Small Business

The community relies strongly on Council driving growth in the City of Rockdale's small business sector. For this reason providing small businesses with the information they need is seen as a key role for Council. There's no denying that there are a number of issues to consider when beginning a business and the process can be very daunting. Council is committed to ensuring the needs of our business community are met.

Building and Planning Your Business


Hair, Beauty Therapy & Skin Penetration


Food Business


More Information
Fact Sheet - Change of Use Application
Checklist for Change of Use Application
DA Checklist
Chambers of Commerce - City of Rockdale

FAQs
I'm thinking of starting a food business, what approvals do I need from Council?
An approval in the form of a development consent from Council may be required depending upon the nature and extent of the works proposed. Once development consent is issued, a construction certificate is required to be issued for any building works. It is recommended that you discuss any proposal with Council's Development Advisory Service to clarify the type of approval required.

How do I get approval?
Should consent be required, a development application can be submitted to Council. The application should include detailed plans of the internal layout of the premises. The cost of the application is based on anticipated value of the building work involved.

What types of details need to be provided?
The plans should indicate the proposed finishes on the walls, floor/s and ceiling together with all fixtures, fittings, washing facilities, toilets, storerooms, refrigeration facilities (including coolroom/s and freezers) and garbage storage facilities, additional plans for mechanical exhaust ventilation or air conditioning systems are also required and approval must be obtained before any work is commenced.

The Principal Certifying Authority (PCA) is also required to be nominated. The PCA who can be either Council or an Accredited Certifier is responsible for authorising the occupation/use of premises.

Is there any information available which will assist me in drawing the plans?
You can obtain a copy of the Australian Standard for Design, Construction and fit-out of food premises (AS 4674-2004) or you can review at DA Tracking to research similar applications to the development activity that you are proposing.

How long will it take to have the plans approved?
It is difficult for Council to estimate the time required to assess an application however as a general rule it takes 4-6 weeks for routine applications. To enable your application to be processed as quickly as possible, we recommend that you ensure that all required information (as stated on the relevant Checklist) is provided at the time of lodgement.

For more complex applications, we recommend that an appointment be made with our Development Advisory Service Officer (phone 9562 1666) to discuss your application prior to lodgement.

You are advised that no work should start until Council has granted development approval and a construction certificate is obtained.

Will I be charged a fee?
Yes - to lodge your development application. Once your application has been approved and works completed you will also be charged an inspection fee that is invoiced at the beginning of each financial year. Your premises will be in¬spected regularly by Council's Environmental Health Inspectors.

Do I have to pass any knowledge tests prior to opening a food business?
It is a requirement under the Food Safety Standards that all persons undertaking or supervising food handling operation in a food business must have skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene matters.

I'm thinking of buying an existing food business. How can I be sure there are no outstanding matters that I need to know about?
It is recommended that any intending purchaser of a food business should ensure that there are no outstanding matters prior to signing a lease. A letter should be forwarded to Council by your solicitor or yourself seeking information from Council with regard to any outstanding matters relating to the premises. You should be aware that any work required to be carried out on the premises, if not completed by settlement date, will become the responsibility of the new proprietor.

Note also that the Food Act 2003 and Regulations hold the occupier (not the owner) responsible for both cleanliness and construction matters within the premises.

Anything else I need to know?
Contact Sydney Water - Commercial Business Customers - Trade Waste Section (details under grease trap). Make the appropriate arrangements with a private company or Council in regard to the regular removal of commercial/trade waste from the premises. All operators of food businesses should take appropriate steps to inform themselves of the requirements of the food laws in New South Wales. Copies of the Food Act 2003 and the Food Regulation 2004 can be obtained from www.legislationnsw.gov.au.

Where do you get information about the relevant legislation's and codes?
Food Act 2003
Food Standards Code
Food Regulation (2004)
Smoke Free Environment Act 2000

What are the penalties for non-compliance with legislation and codes?
Changes to State Government food laws enable Council officers to issue a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN - with on the spot fines) for an offence under these laws. Council's Environmental Health Officers are currently issuing these fines when an offence is detected, under the Food Act 2003. Currently the on the spot fine is in excess of $300.

Emergency Order: requires the premises to comply with the recommendations suggested by the authorised officer within an elected timeframe.

Improvement Notice: requires the premises to comply with recommendations suggested by the authorised officer within an elected timeframe.

Prohibition Order: if Council believes, on reasonable grounds that the proprietor of a food business has not complied with an improvement notice within time required by Section 58 for compliance or the issue of the order is necessary to prevent or mitigate a serious danger to public health.

Prosecution: Maximum penalties for non-compliance with Food legislation in NSW range from $2,750-$55,000 for individuals and $275,000 for corporations and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months.

Is there anyone else I need to notify or register with prior to opening my food business?
Your business details need to be registered with the New South Wales Food Authority. This can be done online.


Helpful Contacts for Small Business

Organisation:

Rockdale City Council

Overview:

The community relies strongly on Council driving growth in the City of Rockdale's small business sector. For this reason providing small businesses with the information they need is seen as a key role for Council.

Council is committed to ensuring the needs of our business community are met. If your business is seeking to expand or relocate, please contact us as Council works closely with business groups and organisations servicing small business in our area.

Contact:

Telephone: 02 9562 1666 (Customer Service, ask to speak to Development Advisory)
Email: rcc@rockdale.nsw.gov.au

Organisation:

Local Chambers of Commerce

Overview:

Chambers of Commerce are networks of local businesses whose goal is to further the interests of their business community.

Contact:

Rockdale City Chamber of Commerce
President: Rami Abdallah (m: 0415 963 986, e: rami@randwrockdale.com.au)
Secretary: Alan Smith
Tel: 02 9599 7879
Email: rockdalechamberofcommerce@ozemail.com.au

Bexley Chamber of Commerce
President: Les Crompton (m: 0408 162 554, e: les@tcis.com.au)
PO Box 96, Bexley, NSW 2207

Bexley North Chamber of Commerce
President: George Patrinos, Lawsome Property Lawyers (e: george.patrinos@lawsome.com.au)
Tel: 9502 3104
Fax: 9502 3904

Organisation:

Bayside Business Enterprise Centre (BEC)

Overview:

The major role for the Business Enterprise Centre is to provide a one stop shop for local businesses and people wanting to establish a business. The BEC strives to provide support, advice, training, mentoring and networking opportunities that are affordable and accessible. There are a wide range of government and non government services, supports, training and grants available to assist businesses.

Unfortunately most businesses are not aware of the support available and often feel they need to succeed on their own. All three levels of Government, Federal, State and Local, recognise the huge role played in our economy of successful businesses and therefore have a vested interest in their success. The BEC's role is to facilitate access to these various services for local businesses.

Contact:

Web: www.botanybec.com.au

Organisation:

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

Overview:

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has a wide range of useful information and services that it provides to small businesses. The ATO can help in every stage of your business, from business start up through to normal day to day operations, expansion, or when you are winding down your business.

There are a wide range of activities you can do online such as applying for an ABN, lodging your Business Activity statement online, understanding Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Pay As You Go (PAYG), through to joining their Business Portal which allows you to do a wider range of activities online and obtain direct assistance.

Contact:

ATO Information Line: 13 24 78
Web: www.ato.gov.au

NSW Government Small Business Tool Kit

The NSW Government Department of Industry and Development have put together a comprehensive website with resources to guide you through establishing a small business. This information can be accessed online (Small Business Tool Kit). Council has also compiled a Small Business Information Kit to assist with locating a variety of resources. The kit provides information on State and Federal Government business assistance programs, contact details on government agencies, and links to a wide range of free resources covering topics such as starting a business, business planning and finance.

NSW Government Home-based Business website

A home-based business is simply a business you operate from home rather than from commercial premises. Operating a business from home has become increasingly prevalent as a result of the digital revolution, outsourcing, the trend towards self-employment and the growth of services industries. In June 2004, there were 282,400 home-based businesses in NSW, representing 63.8% of NSW small businesses.

Home-based business operators tend to face a unique set of challenges. With this in mind, the NSW Government has developed a number of initiatives to support and assist home-based businesses. The online Homebiz Kit (Grow your Business at Home) is an electronic resource to help start, manage and grow a home-based business. The Homebiz Kit is an extremely useful information resource and also includes a catalogue of useful links to aid your online business research. Other information is available at the Small Business Information website produced by the NSW Department of Industry and Investment.

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