Discounts and sustained support for businesses to trade outdoors

The City of Melbourne will consider extending outdoor dining permit fees waivers for traders in Docklands, while providing a 50 per cent discount for parklets across the municipality.

​After supporting city hospitality businesses to trade outdoors for free over the past two years, Council will look to reintroduce some fees – allowing business owners to choose if they want to continue using their outdoor space. 

Since October 2020, Council has waived more than $2.36 million in application and permit fees for outdoor dining and busking and gifted $1.1 million in outdoor dining infrastructure to hospitality businesses, bringing the city’s streets to life with food, drink and music.  
The Extended Outdoor Dining Program has supported the city’s sustained bounce back, with pedestrian data showing a steady increase in foot traffic since June 2021. Retail spend in July reached $353 million – almost 20 per cent up on pre-COVID levels, while night-time spend is at a three-year high.  
At Tuesday’s Council meeting, councillors will consider a measured return to regular permitting from 1 November 2022. This revenue will support city-shaping projects, events and activations, and initiatives to make the city cleaner and safer.  
If endorsed, outdoor dining permit fees for parklets will be gradually reintroduced, with a 50 per cent discount until 30 June 2023.  
To offer further respite to business owners in Docklands, fees would continue to be waived for another eight months – providing $34,000 in benefits to 107 permit holders.  
Busker permit fees would also be frozen until 30 June 2023 to keep the city streets humming with local talent.  
Business owners can apply for flexible payment plans with the option to pay permit fees in installments rather than one-off payments.  
Traders with existing permits can choose to opt out of the program and return parklet and footpath dining areas to Council. Parklet infrastructure would be removed at no cost to businesses.  
The Extended Outdoor Dining Program has been funded through the $200 million Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund – a joint partnership between the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government.  
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