Non-profit organisations

Are you a non-profit organisation looking to prepare food? Different rules apply but you may still need a Food Business Licence.

If you are handling food at home to give to a non-profit organisation for sale by them (eg, baking a cake for a sporting club's cake stall fundraiser), you do not need to hold a licence.

Licence requirements

The licensing requirements under the Food Act apply to a non-profit organisation only when selling meals that have been prepared by the organisation at a particular place on more than 12 occasions in a financial year.

Under the Food Act 2006, a "meal" is defined as food that:

  • is, or is intended to be, eaten by a person sitting at a table, or a fixed structure used as a table, with cutlery; and
  • is of adequate substance as to be ordinarily accepted as a meal.

Note:  if your non-profit organisation does not require a licence (as outlined below), but you want to operate on a temporary basis - eg, a stall or stand at a festival, fete or market - you will need to complete and submit a Notification of Temporary Food Premises ( PDF, 0.04 MB ).

Licence required Licence not required
  • sale, on at least 12 days each financial year, of meals prepared by the organisation at a particular place
  • the food does not constitute a meal (eg, a sausage sizzle)
  • a restaurant, open daily to the public, operated by a sporting club to raise revenue for the club (see Fixed Premises for requirements and application process)
  • meals consist only of fruit, cereal, toast or similar food
  • a non-profit organisation preparing and selling meals to homeless persons at a homeless persons hostel (see Fixed Premises for requirements and application process)
  • meals are prepared as part of an educational or training activity conducted by the organisation involving food preparation, hospitality or catering
  • the preparation of meals by Meals on Wheels (see Fixed Premises for requirements and application process)
  • meals are pre-prepared by an entity other than the non-profit organisation and are stored and heated or otherwise prepared by the organisation in accordance with the directions of the meal's manufacturer
  • a mobile food van providing meals at a sporting ground (see Mobile Food Vehicle for requirements and application process)
  • organisation provides only: whole fruit or vegetables, drinks such as cordial, milk, Milo or juice, chips, nuts or dried fruit, croissants, friands, doughnuts, muffins, biscuits, slices or cakes that are not potentially hazardous (that is, they do not contain fresh custard or cream and are shelf stable, for example banana cake, Anzac biscuits, blueberry muffins)
 

Note 1: even though a licence may not be required, these types of businesses must ensure the sale of safe and suitable food, and comply with the Food Safety Standards. This includes the design, construction and fit out of the food premises.

  Note 2: If your non-profit organisation does not require a licence (as outlined above), but you want to operate on a temporary basis (eg, a stall or stand at a festival, fete or market), you will need to complete and submit a Notification of Temporary Food Premises ( PDF, 0.04 MB ).

Non-profit concessions

Your non-profit organisation may be eligible for a concession on various Council fees and charges.   For non-profits wishing to operate a food business, these concessions include venue hire, local law and health licence fees, waste disposal, plumbing applications and development assessment.

Cairns Regional Council defines eligible non-profit organisations as:

Any non-profit, volunteer, charitable, community, sporting and religious organisation that do not manage or operate premises with poker machines and meets the following criteria:

  • Non-profit community organisations, as determined by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO); or
  • Religious institutions as determined by the ATO; or
  • Schools registered with the Queensland Department of Education.

To be considered a non-profit community organisation the following criteria must be satisfied –

  • The organisation is incorporated under Queensland’s Associations Incorporation Act 1981 or registered under the Collections Act 1961;
  • There is no profit or gain by individual members of the group;
  • The organisation’s constitution or governing documents prevent it from distributing profits or assets for the benefit of particular persons, both while it is operating and on winding up, and;
  • Whilst a surplus can be made, it must be used to carry out the purpose and functions of the organisation.

Further information in relation to the type of assistance available can be found in Council’s Financial Assistance for NFP Organisations - Fees & Charges Policy ( PDF, 0.03 MB ).

Additional guidance for non-profits

The Queensland Government has produced several handy resources to help guide non-profit organisations:

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Last updated: 14 December 2018