Making an application to the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (ACPA) is a time consuming process.  It requires organisation, attention to detail and creativity! 

We are often asked questions which cannot be answered by the legislation or the Pharmacy Location Rules Handbook.  Our answers are based on our extensive experience with applications to the ACPA:

Does the ACPA notify pharmacy owners of every application submitted to the ACPA?

Owners of pharmacies in the area surrounding the proposed premises (ie. the subject of the application) are usually notified of applications made to the ACPA.  Notifications are sent by post.  The exception to this is applications made under Rule 121, Rule 124 or Rule 125.  No third parties are notified of applications made under those Rules.

On what grounds can you object to an application?

You can only object to an application if it does not meet one or more of the requirements of the Rule under which it was submitted.  The ACPA will not have regard to submissions which do not relate to one of the requirements of the particular Rule.

Does the ACPA notify pharmacy owners of the name of the person or company who has submitted an application to the ACPA?                                                                               

No.  The applicant’s name is not disclosed.

Can you provide additional information to the ACPA after you submit your application?

No.  An exception is applications made under Rule 136. 

Applicants who apply under Rule 136 will be requested to provide updated information in the week prior to the meeting of the ACPA.  The request it is not an invitation to submit any additional information whatsoever.

When is an application deferred?

An application is deferred when the ACPA requires further information to be submitted to enable it to make a decision on an application.  An application can be deferred for many reasons including uncertainty regarding (a) the distance measurement, (b) whether the premises can be used for the purposes of a pharmacy in accordance with local planning laws or (c) whether there is valid legal right to occupy the premises.  When an application is deferred, the ACPA informs the applicant of the reason/s for the deferral and requests further information.  The application is then considered at the next meeting of the ACPA, irrespective of whether the further information is provided by the applicant or not.

An application may also be deferred if another application has been submitted to the ACPA for consideration at the same meeting in relation to an existing or proposed pharmacy in the same area.  This is the case irrespective of whether the outcome of the first application impacts on the outcome of the second application.

What happens if two applications are submitted for the same premises?

The first application, as determined by time of lodgement, will be considered first.  The second application will be deferred to the following meeting of the ACPA, or, if the first application is deferred when considered, the meeting following the meeting that the first application is either recommended for approval or not recommended for approval.  Timing is crucial.

How long do you need to maintain rosters for an application under Rule 136?

Two months prior to the application being submitted, and the month prior to the application being considered by the ACPA.  In total, approximately 3 months.   We recommend the hours be maintained on an ongoing basis and at least until the ACPA notifies the applicant of the outcome of the application.

Do specialists count as doctors for applications under Rule 136?

No.  The only exception is a participating dental practitioner.

When does an application need to be submitted?

On or before the cut-off dates determined by the ACPA and published on its website. The ACPA will not accept applications that are lodged after the cut-off date.

How are applications submitted to the ACPA?

Via the Heath Data Portal.


For further information regarding applications to the Australian Community Pharmacy Authority or in relation to the Pharmacy Location Rules more generally, please contact us.  The information provided in this article is general information only.  It does not constitute legal advice.