As a Master licence holder, you can provide licensed security operatives to carry out security activities in NSW.

There are three types of a Master licence you can apply for:

  • Individual – individuals registered as a sole trader (or partnership) who wish to either carry out security activities in a self-employed capacity with a Class 1 or Class 2 security operative licence, or provide security operatives under an ABN
  • Corporation – ASIC-registered corporations, excluding trusts and partnerships, that wish to provide security operatives to carry out security activities
  • Government Agency – government agencies that wish to provide security operatives to carry out security activities.

What Does it Mean to “Provide” Security Operatives?

The Security Industry Act 1997 uses the term “providing persons” in reference to Master licences. In relation to the security industry, “providing persons” has a specific meaning and applies to all Master licence holders, whether they’re individuals, corporations or government agencies.

It refers to Master licensees who:

  • Are paid to carry out security activities themselves
  • Employ security operatives to carry out security activities in-house
  • Provide security operatives to carry out security activities for a client
  • Subcontract another licensed individual or corporation to provide security operatives to carry out security activities for a client

In all these circumstances, the Master licensee is “providing” the security operatives to carry out security activities. All security operatives provided by a Master licensee must hold the appropriate Class 1 or Class 2 licence that authorises them to carry out these security activities.

Master Licence Subclasses

There are several subclasses of master licence:

  • Class MA – carry out security activities within your own business. You must already hold a Class 1 and/or Class 2 security licence
  • Class MB – provide no more than three security operatives to carry out security activities
  • Class MC – provide between four and 14 security operatives to carry out security activities
  • Class MD – provide between 15 and 49 security operatives to carry out security activities
  • Class ME – provide 50 or more security operatives to carry out security activities

If you need to temporarily increase the number of security personnel you are allowed to provide, you can apply for a Temporary Excess Provision of Services (TEPS) permit.

You may also need a Class 2 licence if you want to perform specific functions within your business, like negotiating contracts or acting as an intermediary for other licensed security businesses or operatives. Find out more about Class 2 licences here.

Do I Need a Master Licence?

You need a Master licence if:

  • You want to own and operate a security business and provide licensed security operatives to carry out security activities.
  • You already have a security operative licence (Class 1 or Class 2) and want to carry out security activities yourself within your own business.
  • You want to employ security guards to carry out security activities within your business, eg hospitals, shops and licensed premises like pubs or clubs.
  • You want to employ security guards to patrol, guard or control crowds at an event or a function, eg a music festival, conference or other public event.
  • You are procuring security for a third party, eg if you are hiring out a venue for an event that requires security and you include security services for the client as part of the hiring costs.
  • You own a security business in another Australian state or territory and provide security services to NSW clients. Please note: in this instance any security operatives you provide to carry out these services will also need to hold a NSW security licence.

Am I Eligible for a Master Licence?

There are a few requirements you need to meet to be eligible for a Master licence.

  • You need to be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, a permanent resident or have a visa that allows you to work in Australia, excluding student and working holiday visas
  • You need to be at least 18 years old
  • You need an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • If you are self-employed you must also hold a valid Class 1 and/or Class 2 security licence

Corporations must ensure their business name is registered to an ABN and that a copy of their business name certificate is included in the application.

Please note: if you intend to provide Class 1D (dog handler) or 1F (armed guard) security operatives you must have and maintain at least $10 million in public liability insurance cover.

Trusts are not eligible to apply for a master licence as the NSW security industry legislation does not recognise a trust as a legal entity. Where a corporation applying for a Master licence acts as a trustee for a trust, the application for the Master licence must provide the ABN issued to the corporation (not the trust).

If you, or any of your close associates have a criminal record, it could affect your eligibility. You’re not eligible for a NSW security licence if you or any of your close associates have been:

  • Convicted of a prescribed criminal offence in the past 10 years
  • Found guilty of a prescribed criminal offence in the past five years, with no conviction recorded (click here for more information about prescribed criminal offences)
  • Had a civil penalty imposed on you in the past five years
  • Removed or dismissed from the NSW Police Force, or any other police force in Australia or overseas.

SLED may also refuse your application if:

  • You, or the nominated person, have provided false or misleading information to SLED
  • You, or the nominated person, do not provide the required documentation with your application
  • Granting the licence would not be in the public interest, eg if SLED believes the licence will be improperly used, or that improper conduct is likely to occur if the licence is approved
  • You, or any of your close associates, are linked to past or current criminal activity or criminal investigations
  • You, or the nominated person, are not considered to be a fit and proper person to hold a security licence. Your personal and criminal history is taken into account when making this decision.

See the Am I Eligibile For a NSW Security Licence factsheet for more information.

What is a Nominated Person?

For all Corporation Master licence applications, a nominated person must be specified during the application process.

The nominated person must be a Close Associate who will be involved in the day-to-day conduct of the business’s security activities. They must also have Australian work rights.

As part of the application process, the nominated person must have their fingerprints taken and will be subject to probity checks.

You can read more about Close Associates here.

How do I Apply?

  1. Apply online via Service NSW and attach all necessary documentation when requested.
  2. SLED processes your payment.
  3. SLED will contact you within two or three weeks with instructions to visit a police station to have your finger/palmprints taken or requesting further information if required.
  4. SLED conducts probity checks, investigating the nominated person’s NSW and national criminal history and that of their close associates. This takes four to six weeks to complete.
  5. If the licence is granted the nominated person will receive the master licence certificate in the post.
  6. If the application is refused, the nominated person will receive a letter explaining the reason/s and the appeals process. For more information, see the Refusal, Revocation and Right of Review page.

If you have provided SLED with all the necessary information and documentation, the application process takes about six to eight weeks.

If SLED needs to contact you to get further information or to chase up missing documents, your application will be delayed.

Important: make sure the nominated person’s name, address and contact details are correct on all documentation submitted with the application. Also make sure that Service NSW and Transport for NSW have their current address and contact details on file. If contact details are incorrect or out of date the nominated person may miss important information SLED will send out as part of the application. You can check and update personal details online via Service NSW.

SLED uses SMS and emails to communicate with applicants throughout the application process. We recommend you regularly check your spam folder and add SLED (sled@police.nsw.gov.au) to your contacts to ensure you don’t miss out on important information.

If you are unable to apply online, click here for SLED’s application forms.

What Conditions Will My Licence Have?

All NSW security licences have certain conditions attached to them. These conditions ensure licences are being used appropriately and help SLED to regulate the industry safely and fairly.

For further detailed information about licence conditions, see the Security Industry Act 1997 and the Security Industry Regulation 2016.

Failure to comply with the Master licence conditions could result in fines being issued, and the possible suspension or revocation of your master licence. Prison sentences may also apply for non-compliance offences.

Please note: From 1 March 2022, it is a condition of all NSW Master licences that you ensure all Class 1 security operatives you provide, except for 1E monitoring centre operators, have a current First Aid certificate.

Master Licence Fines

All NSW security licences have certain conditions attached to them. These conditions ensure licences are being used appropriately and help SLED to regulate the industry safely and fairly.

You may receive a fine if you breach any of your licence conditions. Your licence could also be suspended or revoked.

Breach of licence conditions Maximum fine
(individual)
Maximum fine
(corporation)
Not having and implementing a “fitness for work” policy. $1,100 $2,200
Failing to tell Police Assistance Line (131 444) within seven days after a security licence is lost, stolen, destroyed or damaged. $1,100 $4,400
Using, or attempting to use, suggest or imply you can use, your licence for any purpose other than your authorised security activity. $5,500 $5,500
Providing false or misleading information to SLED at any time, including in applications and any other information, records or details you are asked to provide. $5,500 $5,500
Advertising security services without a master licence. $11,000* $22,000
Failing to immediately surrender a suspended or revoked licence. $11,000* $22,000
Failing to include your master licence number in any advertising (including websites). $11,000* $22,000
Using false, misleading or deceptive statements, representations or promises or deliberately hiding facts to induce any person to enter into an agreement or contract related to carrying out any security activity. $11,000* $22,000
Selling, renting or hiring out a security licence, or allowing another person to use someone else’s security licence. $11,000* $22,000
Failing to submit all firearms in your possession to a police officer for ballistics testing. $11,000* $22,000
Modifying a firearm to change the characteristics of the firing mechanism. $11,000* $22,000
Providing a person with a security licence to carry out security activities. $55,000** $110,000
  • * $11,000 fine and/or six months jail
  • ** $55,000 fine and/or two years jail

Please note: SLED may impose additional conditions on licensees as required. Breaching these conditions may result in a fine of up to $22,000 for a corporation or $11,000 and up to six months imprisonment for an individual.

Licence Suspensions and Revocations

There are certain circumstances in which SLED will be required to suspend or revoke a security licence.

Reasons for licence suspension include:

  • If SLED believes you have engaged, or may engage, in improper conduct
  • If you are charged with a serious offence
  • If you breach the Security Industry Act 1997 legislation or regulations
  • If you are found liable to a prescribed civil penalty

Reasons for licence revocation include:

  • If you are convicted or an indictable offence, including assault, theft, fraud, drug offences and murder
  • If you are linked to criminal intelligence or a criminal investigation
  • If you provide false or misleading information to SLED in your licence application or renewal
  • If you breach the Security Industry Act 1997 legislation or regulations
  • If there is criminal intelligence that suggests you are likely to engage in improper conduct if you continue to hold a security licence
  • Any other reason prescribed under the Act or the regulations.

Fees

When you apply for a security licence, or renew your existing licence, you can choose to have a one year or a five year licence.

There are also fees associated with other aspects of security licensing, including add or deleting subclasses, replacing your Master licence certificate, changing your business or trading name or modifying the nominated person or close associates of the Master licence.

A $120 nonrefundable processing fee is included in the application fee. If you choose to withdraw your application this fee cannot be refunded.

If your application is refused, a refund of your application payment, minus the processing fee, will be provided once the appeal period is completed. Refunds can take up to six weeks to process from the date of refusal.

Click here for a full list of SLED licence fees (PDF).

Application and renewal fees
New Application 1 Year Term 5 Year Term
MA $160 $640
MB $410 $1640
MC $1250 $5000
MD $2800 $11,200
ME $5225 $20,900

.

On-time Renewals 1 Year Term 5 Year Term
MA $140 $560
MB $375 $1500
MC $1200 $4800
MD $2725 $10,900
ME $5125 $20,500

.

Late Renewals (within 90 days of licence expiry date) 1 Year Term 5 Year Term
MA $160                                       $640                                      
MB $410 $1640
MC $1250 $5000
MD $2800 $11,200
ME $5225 $20,900
Other licence fees
Amendments to licencesFee
Upgrade to licence subclass Fee is the difference between the application fees for the current and new licence subclasses
Licence replacement or change of name $65
Change of licensee's address, contact details or other personal details Nil
Fingerprint and palmprint  $40

Renew a Master Licence

You can renew your master licence online up to eight weeks before the licence expires.

Once the expiry date passes, you have up to 90 days to submit your renewal Master licence application. Late payment fees apply and must be paid when you submit your application. Your business is unlicensed until your Master licence has been renewed.

You cannot renew your licence once the 90 days have passed. If you want to continue to work in the security industry, you will need to submit a new application.