Sydney is attempting to bring back diners to the city with the launch of a new outdoor dining initiative, following Melbourne’s similar plan.
The Rocks will be the first area where hospitality venues will be allowed to expand into public outdoor spaces, including footpaths, streets and carparks, by October 16.
Parts of George St, which is closed to cars, will also welcome the alfresco trade with outdoor dining to expand from the beginning of November (for a 12-month pilot) in the city centre.
Under the initiative, venues will be able to expand their liquor licence boundaries in just three days instead of the usual 51.
The initiative is expected to roll out across other council areas by the end of the year in a bid to revive the hospital industry following the coronavirus crisis.
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said on Tuesday the move by the Government’s Alfresco Taskforce aligned with the fast approaching summer.
“We have cut through red tape to make this happen in a very short time frame,” Mr Dominello said.
“We’re working with City of Sydney and Place Management NSW, the landowner for The Rocks, to condense what was previously a three-month process involving multiple agencies into a single application that takes a week.”
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said hospitality venues would be able to apply for an outdoor dining licence without needing planning approval, with the plan to encourage people back to the city.
“What we’re doing is getting out of the way – making processes simpler and easier for business owners to quickly take advantage of our unbeatable summer climate and set up outdoor areas for patrons to enjoy,” Mr Stokes said.
“We are doing this by trialling policy changes that mean a planning approval will not be needed for restaurants, bars and cafes to extend their business to outside areas.”