Thursday, April 25, 2024

NSW councils to dine out on $66m

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has welcomed the State Government’s $66 million commitment to an outdoor dining and entertainment revival across the State.

LGNSW President, Linda Scott said eligible businesses would be able to apply for grants of up to $5000 to expand or improve alfresco areas, while councils will also be able to access up to $500,000 to improve high streets and surrounding areas.

“Councils recognise the value that our local restaurants, cafes and bars bring to our communities. That’s why we successfully advocated for rule changes to allow more outdoor dining and entertainment to help drive a locally led recovery from COVID,” Cr Scott said.

“Local governments have advocated for $100 million to increase access to outdoor dining, performance and open spaces to give local businesses every possible support.

“I am pleased to see this week’s funding announcement in response to our calls, and I am confident it will be a shot-in-the-arm for our local cafes and restaurants, who have done it so hard in the past 100-plus days of lockdown.”

The Government’s Alfresco Restart Initiative not only provides funding support but includes a temporary relaxation of planning rules allowing outdoor dining on private land such as car parks and bowling greens until April 2022.

Importantly, the relaxation of rules are temporary measures and cannot be made permanent without council consent – ensuring councils retain important oversight for local amenity, Cr Scott said.

Around $6.5 million funding has also been made available for City of Sydney and the 12 local government areas in south west and western Sydney hardest hit by the COVID lockdown to open streets for community events and festivals.

“No one knows how much people are hurting more than the mayors and councillors of NSW, who are in contact with local businesses daily. Our local government members and the councils they lead have worked tirelessly to support our communities through the COVID lockdown crisis,” Cr Scott said.

“This work includes ensuring the best possible business environment for communities to not only quickly recover from the raft of disasters we’ve faced in the past two years but also prosper, grow and create new jobs in the process.

“But councils cannot do it alone. They rely on support and resources from State and Federal Government to get the job done, which is why we thank the NSW Government recognising and partnering with those efforts by providing the resources necessary to help our cafes, restaurants and other local small businesses prosper,” she said.

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