Small Business Friendly Approvals Program

Actively engaging and working on ways the Shire of Esperance can streamline business applications, to attract new business and help grow those businesses already in our region.

Of the 1,710 businesses in the Shire of Esperance, 1,677 (98 per cent) are categorised as a small business, employing 0 -19 people, with 955 of those small businesses identifying as sole traders*.

small business

Participation in the Approvals Program in November 2022, included an examination of current practices and a revisit of challenging past applications. Participants were stepped through the five steps of design thinking. This approach assisted officers to identify how they might provide better information and streamline practices to support business operators in understanding and meeting statutory conditions in the most efficient and timely way.

The decision by Executive, and support by Council, to take staff involved in small business application and approval processes off line for a two-week period was vitally important and aligned with item 12.1.4 in the Council Plan 2022-2032.

Reform initiatives in the action plan aim to reduce approval timeframes, foster a “can-do” business-friendly culture, and ensure more efficient and effective use of Shire resources.

Reforms include, but aren’t limited to:


Item Status
1.7 Redesign the approval email to make clear the approval is granted with conditions that need to be met prior to operating Complete
1.5 Create a visual map of the Shire to show what business models are best suited to specific areas / zones.  Map available for Shire Staff to help with enquiries. Will be made available to the public in the coming months.


Item Status
2.1 Create a two-tiered business support function that guides and navigates the small business customer through the application and approvals process.   Complete. We now have a Small Business Support Team.
2.9 Develop and present a series of business clinics / workshops aligned with small business needs in partnership with the ECCI/Business Local program. Ongoing.
2.5 Create an Event Support function that helps to guide and navigate the event customer through the application and approvals process. Complete. We now have an Event Support Team.


Item Status
3.1 Change home business classification to ‘D’ use so that these types of applications no longer need advertising. Complete.
3.2 Establish new guidelines that will exempt more small businesses from planning approval. Complete.
3.3 Establish a fast-tracked approval process for recurring events (commercial and community). Complete.


Item Status
4.2 Simplify the most commonly used forms by small businesses to improve the approvals process and experience.         Initial update of forms complete. Going forward, annual review of all forms.
4.3 Design a series of bespoke email templates for each technical area, which acknowledges receipt of the application and provides a visual roadmap of the assessment and approvals process. Complete.
4.6 Consider the health approvals process to support the opportunity for registered food businesses to operate as a temporary food business to attend events.          Complete. Ongoing review.
4.7 Develop a policy framework that enables additional temporary accommodation options for events.       Complete.

Small Business Support Team

(08) 9083 1799

Event Support Team

(08) 9083 1799

This is a Small Business Development Corporation program.

small business

*Australian Bureau of Statistics (December 2021), Counts of Australian Businesses, including Entries and Exits, Shire of Esperance