Do I Need a Trade Contractor’s Licence in Australia?


Do I Need a Trade Contractor’s Licence in Australia?

The question of whether a Trade Contractor’s Licence is needed is more than just a matter of compliance—it’s a way to understand the standards, quality, and safety measures that underpin professional painting services across the country. With each state and territory boasting its own set of regulations and requirements, navigating the legalities of becoming a licensed painter in Australia can seem like a lot of legalities over a painting career. 

In this article, we’ll cover why it’s worth going over the red tape of getting a painting qualification for your licence and why you should get your trade licence with Gimbal Training. 

Does A Painter Require a Licence?

Operating without a Trade Contractor’s Licence in jurisdictions where it is required can lead to significant legal consequences for painters. These may include fines, cease and desist orders, and the potential for criminal charges in severe cases. 

Unlicensed work is often ineligible for official contracts, limiting a painter’s ability to work on government or large commercial projects. The legal mandate for licensing ensures that all practitioners adhere to a standard legal framework, promoting fairness and accountability in the industry.

Trade Contractor’s Licence Requirements New South Wales

In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, the requirements for obtaining a Trade Contractor’s Licence are set by the NSW Department of Fair Trading. This regulatory body ensures that individuals meet specific criteria regarding qualifications, experience, and competency before they can legally undertake painting and decorating work.

In addition to formal qualifications, applicants are usually required to demonstrate a certain period of practical experience under the supervision of a licensed painter. The required duration can vary, so it’s important to check the latest requirements from the NSW Department of Fair Trading.

Trade Contractor’s Licence Requirements Queensland

In Queensland (QLD), Australia, the requirements for obtaining a Trade Contractor’s Licence are governed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC). The QBCC sets the standards and regulations to ensure that painters have the necessary skills, knowledge, and professionalism to perform high-quality work within the state.  

Individuals applying for a contractor licence must also complete the approved managerial course. This course is designed to ensure that contractors have the necessary skills to manage a business, including legal, financial, and project management aspects.

At Gimbal Training, all of our courses have been certified by the necessary governing bodies in these states. So you can rest assured knowing that your qualifications will be valid.

How Do I Obtain a Trade Contractor’s Licence?

Before applying for a Trade Contractor’s Licence, it’s essential to compile all necessary documentation that demonstrates your qualifications and relevant work experience. This often includes:


Most regulatory bodies require a Certificate III in Painting and Decorating or equivalent qualifications. You must provide certified copies of your certificates. Certification can usually be done by a Justice of the Peace or other authorised personnel.


Detailed records of your painting and decorating experience, including types of projects completed, duration of each project, and roles or responsibilities held. This may require gathering work statements or references from previous employers, contracts, or client testimonials that attest to your work.

Complete the Application Form

Finding the Form

Application forms are typically available on the website of the regulating body, such as the NSW Department of Fair Trading, the QBCC in Queensland, or equivalent organisations in other states or territories.

Filling Out the Form

Ensure you accurately complete all sections of the form. This may include personal details, business information (if applying for a contractor licence), details of your qualifications and experience, and other relevant information.

Supporting Documents

The form will list all the documents you need to attach. This might include your evidence of qualifications, experience, any other certifications, and possibly a recent photograph.

Pay the Fee

Costs: The fee for applying for a Trade Contractor’s Licence varies depending on the type of licence (e.g., tradesperson, contractor) and the term of the licence (e.g., 1 year, 3 years). 

Fees are subject to change, so it’s important to check the current rates on the relevant regulatory body’s website.

Pass the Examination

The examination tests your knowledge of the painting trade, including technical skills, safety regulations, and the Building Code of Australia. Not all jurisdictions require an exam, so it’s crucial to verify if this step is necessary in your area.

If an exam is required, you may find study guides or resources provided by the regulatory body. These resources can help you prepare for the examination by covering relevant laws, regulations, and technical standards. 

Do I Need a Trade Contractor’s Licence to Work as a Painter in Australia?

Yes, in most Australian states and territories, you need a Trade Contractor’s Licence to carry out professional painting work, especially for residential and commercial projects. The specific requirements can vary by state.

Can I Transfer My Trade Contractor’s Licence From One State to Another?

Licence transferability between states is not automatic. You may need to apply for mutual recognition of your existing licence in the new state, subject to meeting that state’s licensing criteria.

Are There Any Ongoing Requirements or Renewals for a Trade Contractor’s Licence?

Yes, Trade Contractor’s Licences typically require renewal every 1 to 5 years, depending on the state. Licensees may need to demonstrate ongoing professional development, insurance coverage, and financial stability for renewal.

Find out more about how to get a Trade Contractor’s Licence and more on the Gimbal Training blog page today, or contact us today.