Cash boost for outdoor dining


By Jessica Micallef

Macedon Ranges council is eligible for up to $500,000 to assist local hospitality venues to implement outdoor dining measures.

The funding is part of the $5 million second round of the state government’s $87.5 million Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package, which was released in September to support hospitality venues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the release of the package, Victorian councils have been provided with $29 million in grants to set up outdoor dining areas and pocket parks, waive permit fees and invest in lighting and other infrastructure.

More than 50 councils have fast-tracked applications and approval processes for permits from venues, 34 councils have set up parklets and seating areas and 36 councils have invested in more street furniture, seating and marquees.

The latest round of funding for local governments will prioritise metropolitan and fringe councils that face additional costs supporting outdoor dining due to their size, location or geography.

Local Government Minister Shaun Leane said the Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package has proved popular with Victorians and has bolstered the hospitality industry’s recovery from the pandemic’s impact.

“It has been fantastic to see how outdoor dining has been embraced across Melbourne,” he said.

“It’s made a real difference to the hospitality industry and I know many Victorians have enjoyed the outdoor areas councils have helped create.

“This new funding will help councils do everything they can to support their local hospitality industry recover from the impact of the pandemic.”