Food and beverage businesses

Cocktail and tapas on a restaurant table.

A restaurant or a cafe is defined as a premises primarily used for the preparation, sale and serving of food and drinks for consumption on the premises by customers for whom seating is provided, including premises that are licensed under the Liquor Control Act 1988.

Approval process

As a guide, the following approvals are typically required if you are intending to open a restaurant or a cafe:

Step 1 - Identify your Business Site and Zoning

Once you have chosen a business address, please confirm the site's zoning using the City's Online Maps. Zoning can be identified using the Planning and Development Module.

Once a site has been selected, locate 'TPS2 Zoning' in the column on the right-hand side of the screen to identify the zone.

City of Rockingham online mapping

The preferred land zone for restaurants and cafes include the following:

  • Primary Centre City Centre (excluding Primary Centre Campus and Primary Centre Urban Living)
  • District Town Centre
  • Commercial
Step 2 - Development Application

There are exemptions under the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 for restaurants and cafes provided that:

  • the land to be used is located in a Commercial, City Centre and/or Mixed Use zone;
  • the use is capable of being approved under the Town Planning Scheme;
  • no new permanent buildings or structures are required (with the exception that car parking bays are permitted); and
  • the site/land is not a Heritage Protected Place.

The City must be notified within seven days of the restaurant or cafe commencing operation that it is exempt from the need for Development Approval. To request an exemption, please complete the below exemption letter and attach it to your small business enquiry.

Note: Although the proposed restaurant or cafe may be exempt from the need to obtain Development Approval, Building and Health approvals may still be required.

Development Approval will be required to operate your restaurant or cafe where it does not meet the exemption requirements.

To apply, please complete the below application form and use our online portal Rock Port, to lodge your application.

Lodge a development application

If your business includes the sale or consumption of alcohol, you are required by law to obtain and display a Section 39 and/or Section 40 Certificate. Liquor licences are issued by the Department of Local Government, Sporting and Cultural Industries. The Department will generally ask for comment from both the City of Rockingham and the WA Police on new liquor applications, changes to existing liquor licences or if an occasional liquor licence is applied for.

Please refer to the following links for further information:-

For more information regarding Section 39 and 40 Certificates, please contact the City on 9528 0333.

Step 3 - Building Permit

Standard Building Permit process

In general, any work involving additions and/or alterations will require a Building Permit. In most cases, proposed partitioning works for shops, office and warehouse fit-outs will affect the way the building complies with an applicable Building Standard and will require a Building Permit.

Applications for commercial properties (Class 2 to Class 9 buildings) must be made as an Application for Building Permit - Certified (BA1). The applicant will need to engage in the services of an independent building surveyor to assess the proposal and provide a Certificate of Design Compliance (BA3).

An Application for Building Permit - Certified (BA1) is accompanied by a Certificate of Design Compliance (BA3) and can be made for any class of building and incidental structure. The City has 10 business days to determine a permit for a certified application.

A Building Permit application must be accompanied by:

  • A completed Application for Building Permit - Certified (BA1);
  • A completed Certificate of Design Compliance (BA3); 
  • Copies of all relevant plans and specifications; and.
  • Payment of required fees.

You can use our online portal, Rock Port, to lodge your application. First time users will need to create a new account for the online lodgement of a building application. Existing users can log in with their existing Rock Port account. Alternatively, you can submit your application in person at our Administration Office located on Civic Boulevard, Rockingham.

Submit a building application

Where a simple fit-out is proposed, with cosmetic renovations such as painting and decorating, and only moveable furniture is being installed, a Building Permit will generally not be required.

New or changes to existing signage on the facade of a building or installations over glazing will require a Building Permit.

Visit the Building Commission website to access all building permit application forms.

Building Commission website

Step 4 - Health Approvals

Starting a new food business

Before starting a new food business it is recommended that you contact us for advice before submitting your application. Submit your small business enquiry here.

Your application for health approval must include a floor plan and elevations of the food preparation, food storage and food service areas. All structural details are required, including the location and types of equipment, the surface finishes, fixtures and fittings. You must include all areas of your food premises, such as any additional food storage areas, the bin storage location, cleaners' store and location of staff and patron toilets (if provided). The number of tables and chairs must also be provided, as well as any alfresco dining.

Along with your details plans your application also needs to include the following:

  • A completed Application for Registration/Notification of a Food Business form;
  • A copy of your menu or a list of the foods to be sold or provided;
  • Evidence of application for Water Corporation Trade Waste Permit; and
  • Payment of required fees.

The food premises will be assessed against the Food Act 2008 (WA), Standard 3.2.2 of the ANZ Food Standards Code – Food Safety Standards, Australian Standard AS4674-2004 Design Construction and Fit-out of a Food Premises, and Australian Standard AS1668.2-1991 The Use of Mechanical Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. These documents are available free of charge by contacting us on 9528 0333 or

When your application has been approved, you will receive a conditional approval. Construction may only occur after this time, as the approval will have a set of structural conditions that need to be complied with. If you undertake construction work prior to receiving the approval conditions, you may install fixtures that do not comply and will be required to re-fit prior to being allowed to operate.

When construction has been completed, you need to contact us to arrange for a final inspection. If the premises complies with the conditional approval, we will issue a Certificate of Registration and the premises may begin trading.  The pre-opening checklist should be completed before you contact the City for the final inspection, so you have confidence that the business is ready for the City's Environmental Health Officer.

Buying an established food premises

If you intend to purchase an established food premises, you must apply for a new Certificate of Registration. The Certificate of Registration is not valid once the proprietor has left the premises, and an application for a new Certificate of Registration must be made so that the new proprietor’s details can be displayed.

Your application will need to include the following:

  • A completed Application for Registration/Notification of a Food Business form;
  • A copy of your menu or a list of the foods to be sold or provided;
  • Evidence of application for Water Corporation Trade Waste Permit;
  • Transfer of Alfresco Dining Permit application (if applicable); and
  • Payment of required fees.

Alfresco dining

Alfresco dining adds vibrancy to the street, provides an alternative for patrons and encourages customers to the area. When operating an alfresco area, the following needs to be considered:

  • Flooring must be scrubbed on a routine basis to remove all grease, food residue and stains.
  • All structures must be secured to withstand strong wind conditions, and must not obstruct pedestrian access through the area.
  • The area must be kept clean at all times, and must be included in your cleaning schedule.
  • Rubbish can attract birds and pests, and discourage customers. Monitoring and removal of rubbish in the alfresco area must be done routinely throughout the day.
  • Smoking is not permitted in any alfresco dining area.
  • If your alfresco area is located on City land, you must have a current Alfresco Dining Permit from us before using the area.
Step 5 - Occupancy Permit and Health Inspection
  • An Occupancy Permit must be obtained from the City before any commercial building can be occupied.

    It covers circumstances such as:

    • occupying a completed new building or a new part of an existing building;
    • occupying an incomplete building or part of a building on a temporary basis;
    • modifying the current occupancy permit for additional use of a building on a temporary basis;
    • occupying a building or part of a building that has undergone a permanent change of use or classification;
    • authorising and occupying an unauthorised building or an unauthorised part of a building; and
    • authorising a building with existing approval with a new or replacement occupancy permit. This demonstrates that an existing building complies with the relevant building standards and is safe to occupy.

    An Occupancy Permit application must be accompanied by:

    • a Certificate of Construction Compliance (BA17) for new buildings including new additions to existing buildings or a Certificate of Building Compliance (BA18) for existing buildings, signed by an independent building surveyor.

    Occupancy Permit applications can be emailed to or lodged in person at our Administration Office located at Civic Boulevard, Rockingham.

    Visit the Building Commission website to access all Building Permit application forms you need to submit to us.

    We are happy to discuss your project before you commence the process so you are clear on what you need to do. Please lodge a small business enquiry to request a meeting.

    Building Commission website

  • Running a food business

    Proprietors have a number of legal obligations under the Food Act 2008 (WA) and Food Safety Standards. Our Environmental Health Officers undertake ongoing routine inspections of all food premises within the City of Rockingham to ensure that proprietors are meeting their obligations under the food legislation, and maintaining a high level of food hygiene and food safety.

    They are available to provide advice on food hygiene and food safety, and to provide assistance wherever possible.

    Proprietors are required to receive approval from our Health Services prior to undertaking refurbishments or minor works, to ensure that the proposed work complies with the food legislation.

    We have included a fact sheet below about food safety advice relating to coronavirus (COVID-19). 


    Food safety training and information

Step 6 - Open your Business

As a new and developing business there is a number of useful resources and information available intended to provide additional support and guidance.

Small Business Development Corporation

The Small Business Development Corporation is an independent statutory authority with its mission to deliver and facilitate relevant, practical support to small businesses and to foster the development of policy conducive to the growth of the small business sector. The Small Business Development Corporation is working towards creating a strong and enterprising small business sector in Western Australia.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA is a member-driven organisation providing quality information, professional services and support for businesses. Its mission is to make it easier to do business in the state and ensure that WA is a place where businesses of all shapes and sizes can succeed.

Australian Government is an online Australian Government resource which provides a wide range of business information and assistance with regard to starting a business, running a business or exiting a business. This site also offers grants and assistance for business owners at all stages of their business timeline.

Australian Business License and Information Service

The Australian Business License and Information Service helps business operators and people considering starting a business to identify the types of licenses, permits, approvals, regulations and codes of practice required or in place for the relevant state, territory, local and Australian government.


Submit an enquiry

If you still have any queries or questions on your small business proposal, or you have a proposal plan that you would like to discuss further, please submit your enquiry or indicative proposal to us.

Submit an enquiry or indicative proposal

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