Thursday, June 20, 2024

City of Melbourne set to park dining fees

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

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

“Over the past two years, we’ve waived outdoor dining permit fees and allowed our world-class hospitality businesses and buskers to do what they do best – bring delicious food and incredible music to the city,” said Acting Lord Mayor, Nicholas Reece.

“Melbourne is springing back to life. We’re continuing to see steady growth in foot traffic, retail and night-time spend back to pre-pandemic levels. The data tells us that now is the right time to return to our regular outdoor dining permitting processes.”      

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.

The Extended Outdoor Dining Program has helped support the city’s recovery, with pedestrian data showing a steady increase in foot traffic since June 2021. Retail spend in July reached $353 million – almost 20% up on pre-COVID levels, while night-time spend is at a three-year high, said Cr Reece.

At tomorrow’s 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% discount until 30 June 2023.  

“Since the beginning of the year, we’ve seen a significant increase in new restaurants, bars and cafes – with 167 new hospitality venues adding to Melbourne’s world-renowned dining, but we know our city is still recovering from the economic impacts of the pandemic,” said City Activation portfolio lead, Councillor Roshena Campbell.

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 holder – and busker permit fees would also be frozen until 30 June next year.  

The Council said business owners can apply for flexible payment plans with the option to pay permit fees in instalments rather than one-off payments.  

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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