Small Business
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Small Business

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​Thinking of starting a new small business in Wollongong? Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Be clear about your proposal

You should consider the detail and specific nature of your proposal in order to assist you in better understanding the likely impacts and relevant planning considerations. This should include such things as:

  • site preparation works required (e.g. tree removal, excavation, demolition etc.)
  • hours of operation
  • staff, patron and customer numbers
  • car parking requirements
  • environmental impacts
    • noise generation and any mitigating factors / measures
    • likely odour or emissions and any mitigating factors / measures
  • waste generation, storage and servicing arrangements
  • internal fit-out
  • signage
  • pedestrian and vehicular access and traffic generation.

See our small business factsheets below for more information. 

2. Know your site

It's crucial that you understand both the opportunities and obstacles inherent in developing on a site. This allows you to determine the suitability of the land for your development prior to purchasing or leasing the property, and before going to the expense of preparing and lodging a development application.

Important information you should know includes the following:

  • Land zoning and Permissibility
  • Information available through our interactive maps
  • Site constraints and their implications for your development (e.g. Bushfire, Instability, Flooding, Contamination, easements, access and parking etc.)
  • Where alterations or change of use of an existing building are proposed, you should be aware of any building upgrades that may be required to conform to access and fires safety requirements under the Building Code of Australia. 
  • Adjoining land uses and any likely impacts arising from the development.

3. Identify the necessary approvals

Development will fall under one of the following three categories: 

Exempt development

Exempt development refers to works or uses that do not require development consent. This includes such things as home employment, certain advertising and signage, minor alterations and additions and some changes of use. Types of exempt development are outlined in State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 and Schedule 2 of Wollongong Local Environmental Plan 2009.

Complying development

Complying Development requires consent in the form of a Complying Development Certificate from either Council or a Private Certifier. A list of types of development that are complying are described in State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008. A building certifier can provide assistance in this regard. 

Requires development consent


Development that is not exempt or complying will require a Development Application to be prepared and submitted to Council.

Council will assess the application against the relevant planning controls and issue development consent if satisfactory. Works will be required to be certified through a Construction Certificate and Occupation Certificate.

The process involved in getting development consent is outlined in Council’s small business factsheets below.

Further information

The following services and information are available to assist you further with specific development enquiries:

Economic Development Unit (EDU):
EDU are the first point of contact for many businesses looking to establish, expand or relocate to Wollongong. The Unit also manages and coordinates the Wollongong City Centre, including the Crown Street Mall. For more information, go to the Economic Development Unit homepage.
Duty Planner:
Council’s Duty Planner can assist with general planning questions and is available between 9am and 1pm on the ground floor of the administration building at 41 Burelli Street or calling (02) 4227 7111.
Small business factsheets:
The factsheets at the bottom of this page have been developed as a guide to the process and necessary approvals in establishing a small business in Wollongong.
Small business pre-lodgement meeting:
Whatever stage you are at with your small business idea, Council's Small Business Planning Team is available to meet to discuss your proposal and the related approval process. Speak to Council's Duty Planner or email to organise a meeting.

More information for Small Business

Council runs and supports a number of programs to assist small business in our city, including free Small Business Planning sessions to help you navigate the approvals and licencing process.
For details of current programs and events, visit our Business Support and Advisory Programs page.
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