There are key changes to the Pharmacy Location Rules (‘the Rules’) which will come into effect from 3 October 2018 and will apply to applications made on or after this date.

Key changes

The key changes to the Rules include:

  • increased flexibility to allow pharmacists to relocate out of shopping centres –i.e. if relocating out of a large shopping centre, the proposed new site can be within 1.5km (previously 1km) but only needs to be at least 300m (previously 500m) from any other approved pharmacy;
  • amendments to the requirements for replacing a pharmacy that has relocated out of a shopping centre- i.e. if applying for an additional second approved pharmacy (where the large shopping centre has between 100-199 commercial establishments) or additional third approved pharmacy (where the large shopping centre has at least 200 commercial establishments) in a large shopping centre, it will also be required to evidence that no approved premises have relocated out of that large shopping centre in the 12 months prior to the date of application;
  • a reduction in the distance that a proposed new large medical centre pharmacy needs to be from existing pharmacies- i.e. from 500m down to 300m;
  • an increase of the time that a pharmacist must remain in one location prior to relocating – i.e. from two to five years; and
  • introduction of a new rule that allows pharmacies to relocate between 1km and 1.5km from their existing location- long as the proposed new site is at least 300m (where the existing premises are not in a small shopping centre, large medical centre or large private hospital) and at least 500m (where the existing premises are in a small shopping centre, large medical centre or large private hospital) from any other existing approved premises.


Applications made on or after 3 October 2018 will be assessed under the revised Rules and will require the use of a new application form.

Further information

If you require any specific information or assistance with any potential location rule applications based on these changes, please do not hesitate to contact Anthony Cannizzo, Partner, Robert James Lawyers (contact details below):

Direct Line: 03 8628 2012

Level 10, 200 Queen Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000
Tel: + 61 3 8628 2000
Fax: + 61 3 8628 2050