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Doing Business In Australia

June 30, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 272

Foreign companies

A foreign company wishing to carry on business in Australia must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission ("ASIC"). Foreign companies are required to lodge copies of financial statements with ASIC, notify ASIC when some company details change, appoint a local agent and have an Australian registered office.

If a foreign company requires an Australian presence it may choose to establish a wholly owned subsidiary, such as an Australian private company limited by shares or a public company, provided some basic requirements are met. Those types of companies must also be registered with ASIC.

The Australian Government's foreign investment policy may require a foreign company or its subsidiary to obtain Government approval prior to acquiring assets or shares owned by an Australian company.

Australian business structures

Many businesses in Australia operate as private or "proprietary limited" companies, either in their own right or as trustee of a trust, or as public companies. Private companies must have at least one Director. Public companies must have at least three Directors and a Secretary - the Secretary and two Directors must reside in Australia.

Australian businesses may also utilise other business structures such as partnerships, joint ventures and trusts. All Australian businesses are governed by a robust legal framework and taxation regime.


Franchising is a very common method of doing business in Australia. Franchising has a significant and positive effect on the Australian economy, with its inherent stimulus for growth and creation of jobs in a number of industries and markets. Franchise arrangements are subject to the mandatory Franchising Code of Conduct ("the Code"), which comprises part of Australia's competition and consumer legislation.

Australian Regulators

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ("ACCC") promotes compliance with the Code. The ACCC regulates Australia's national infrastructure services, and is responsible for ensuring that individuals and businesses comply with Australian competition, fair trading and consumer protection laws. Part of the ACCC's role is to ensure that mergers and acquisitions do not result in a substantial lessening of competition in an Australian market.

The Intellectual Property Office of Australia ("IP Australia") administers intellectual property rights and legislation governing patents, trademarks, designs and plant breeder's rights. IP Australia processes trademark, designs, plant breeder's rights and patent applications, conducts hearings and decides disputes regarding Australian intellectual property rights.

ASIC is Australia's corporate, markets and financial services regulator. It regulates, licenses and monitors all Australian companies, financial services organisations, superannuation, insurance, deposit-taking, credit and investment professionals, and financial markets.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority ("APRA") is the prudential regulator of the financial services industry. APRA oversees Australian banks, credit unions, insurance and reinsurance providers, building and friendly societies, and many superannuation industry members.

The Australian Taxation Office is Australia's primary tax law regulator and revenue collection agency.

Commercial due diligence

Commercial due diligence is an important first step to any business acquisition or private equity investment.

Engage a lawyer with commercial business experience to advise you on the risks and opportunities of a transaction and protect your interests.

Stone Lawyers assists clients from a range of industries across the spectrum of their commercial activities and in a variety of specialised areas.

From late July 2012 Stone Lawyers is the only law firm in the "Doing Business in Australia" section of the Australian Immigration Book - a publication that is distributed globally to thousands of Australian business visa entrants, business representatives and expatriates each year.

Engage a lawyer with commercial business experience to advise you on the risks and opportunities of a transaction and protect your interests. Visit for more details.

Source: EzineArticles
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