Top 10 challenges of doing business in Australia

Disclaimer: This article was accurate at the time of publishing. To obtain the most up-to-date information, please get in touch with our local experts.


The Australian economy is ranked in the top three countries in the Asia-Pacific region for its overall competitiveness, and among countries with a population of 20 million or more, Australia ranks second in the world, behind only the United States. However, a survey of 1,700 businesses by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently found more than four in five businesses are concerned about tax charges, particularly in relation to the superannuation levy, while 90% felt the level of government spending was a major concern.

In order to successfully navigate the business environment, having the help of local experts can streamline operations and cut through challenging bureaucratic requirements.

Starting a Business 

The World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) rank Australia in second position in the world for ease of starting a business, requiring two procedures and taking only two days to complete. Firms must   complete and lodge ASIC Form 201 “Application for Registration as an Australian Company", obtain a certificate of incorporation and an Australian company number and register for ABN with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Dealing with Construction Permits 

Firms are required to complete 11 procedures when dealing with construction permits, including several inspections and approval from local authorities. Taking 112 days and costing only 13.4% of income per capita, the process is relatively streamlined in comparison to other OECD nations.

Getting Electricity 

Businesses must submit an application for connection before hiring an accredited service provider to conduct external works. A CT Metering form should then be submitted to the utility and an internal wiring inspection carried out. This takes 75 days on average to complete.

Registering Property

There are several procedures to complete when registering a property, but each takes no more than two days. Documents must be filed with the Land and Property Information Department, Municipal Council, water authority and Office of State Revenue.

Getting Credit 

Australia’s robust financial services industry means businesses are able to get credit with relative ease.  The World Bank and IFC rank it fourth in the world after leaping six positions from the previous year.

Protecting Investors 

Investor protection can be a concern for businesses expanding into Australia, although the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) - an independent Australian government body that acts as Australia's corporate regulator - is in place to strengthen the country’s position.

Paying Taxes 

Paying taxes was a primary concern in the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry report, and companies expressed grievances over the superannuation levy, which is increasing from 9% to 12%. Firms are required to make 11 payments per year taking 109 hours in total. The superannuation guarantee takes 18 hours to complete, with corporate income tax standing at a flat 30%.

Trading Across Borders

Importing and exporting is quite a bureaucratic business in Australia, with six documents required to export and seven to import. As a result, it takes nine days to export and eight to import.

Enforcing Contracts and Resolving Insolvency

Australia’s modern judicial system makes enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency a streamlined task, taking 395 days to enforce a contract and one year to resolve insolvency.


Australia is quite reliant on overseas markets both in terms of consumption and international trade, which means it has both a political and economic environment which supports globalised business. It is a small market with a highly educated, affluent population which realises the importance of international trade, making cultural barriers to trade a non-issue.

TMF Group

We have the local knowledge to help you navigate these minefields. Whether you want to set up in Australia or just want to streamline your Australian operations, talk to us.