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Alfresco dining a taste of things to come

Published: 7 June 2021
Released by: Minister for Digital, Minister for Customer Service

People across NSW are one step closer to enjoying their food and drink outdoors with the successful NSW alfresco dining trial to become permanent.

Planning is underway to make outdoor eating and drinking a permanent feature of the State’s hospitality scene with the current six-month trial due to end on 30 October 2021.

Minister for Digital and Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the feedback and results from the trial have been overwhelmingly positive.

“This is a no brainer given the glorious weather and venues this State has to offer,” Mr Dominello said.

“Over 200 venues, more than 130 of them licensed, have taken part in the trial which has created capacity for 3,350 additional patrons.

“During the first eight weeks of the trial, Darling Harbour businesses reported an average increase of 33 per cent in business turnover and a 27 per cent increase in patrons.” NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said more freedom and outdoor dining opportunities was a commonsense move which had been embraced by the community and would deliver an economic benefit to business and the state.

“You can’t eat red tape so we need to do everything we can to make it easier for businesses to operate and in the process ensure people can enjoy themselves outdoors in one of the most wonderful climates in the world,” Mr Perrottet said.

“We heard at the inaugural Sydney Summit last year how important this move was to free up businesses and it aligns closely with recommendations made recently by the NSW Productivity Commissioner Peter Achterstraat in his final report.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the scheme worked by slashing red tape to allow pubs, cafes and restaurants to expand onto footpaths and public spaces so extra customers can enjoy their dining experience in a COVID-safe way.

“The trial has shown the benefits of creating new business opportunities in the hospitality sector by removing barriers to outdoor dining,” Mr Stokes said.

“With less than five months until the trial ends, now is the time to look at making the changes permanent as we create a new normal for the hospitality industry as the pandemic continues.”

The trial began last year in The Rocks and Darling Harbour before expanding to seven council areas including the City of Sydney, Randwick City Council, City of Parramatta, Narrabri Council, Inner West Council, Northern Beaches Council and Byron Shire Council.

Longer-term alfresco plans under consideration include:

  • Continuing to offer a temporary process to encourage experimentation and innovation, particularly with multi-venue activations. For example, businesses including small bars and pubs do not need to make a development application to use footpath and public space outside their venues for alfresco dining purposes, saving time and money
  • Providing an easy rollover from temporary to permanent alfresco dining approvals so that successful activations can be extended or made permanent without further red tape
  • Reducing red tape associated with permanent outdoor dining applications, including expanded use of provisional approvals so that venues can offer alfresco dining
  • Introducing changes to better integrate alfresco dining at existing venues with one off street activations such as markets, festivals and community events.

For further information about NSW’s alfresco dining trial view the Outdoor dining webpage.

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