Outdoor dining permit fees slashed in boost for business

Two women eating at a cafe outdoors. Changes in outdoor dining permit fees will take effect from 1 February 2020.

Outdoor dining permit fees for cafe, restaurant and bar operators in the ACT will be waived for 12 months for first-time applicants and halved for existing permit holders under a plan to support businesses affected by smoke haze this summer.

These changes will result in the savings of hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of dollars for cafes, bars and restaurants across the ACT.

The free 12-month trial is designed to encourage eateries who do not currently have an outdoor dining permit to get online from 1 February and submit their application.

While Canberra wasn’t the hardest hit by the recent NSW bushfires, associated smoke and resulting poor air quality has contributed to a significant downturn in the tourism and hospitality sector during December and January.

The ACT Government’s outdoor dining permit fee changes have been designed to support affected local businesses.

Under the changes, from 1 February 2020 all current permit holders will have their fees reduced by 50 per cent.

Those without a permit will be able to apply for one with no upfront costs for 12 months.

Access Canberra will process refunds or credits for existing permit holders so that they also pay the new, lower rate from 1 February 2020.

Existing permit holders do not need do anything to access the reduced rate, they will be contacted by Access Canberra in the coming months.

Currently there are 240 outdoor dining permits issued across the ACT.

For a business renewing its permit of 40m2 in Canberra’s primary commercial areas, the 50 per cent fee cut would represent a saving of over $1200 a year.

The tourism and hospitality industry is one of the biggest employers in the ACT, and the Government wants to ensure that local cafes, restaurants and bars continue to grow and provide more jobs for Canberrans.

It is committed to supporting Canberra’s vibrant outdoor dining scene so that significant growth of recent years continues.

The past few weeks have been tough for our city as people have had to stay indoors and cancel holidays, putting a strain on small local businesses.

These changes will help businesses to grow and take advantage of improving conditions, and ensure that the ACT will have among the lowest fees associated with Outdoor Dining Permits of cities nationally.