Applying for a permitHow long will the process take?How much will it cost?Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the duration of the permit?

The maximum duration of the permit is two years. Permits can be renewed. You will be advised when your permit is to expire and will be asked to resubmit your application form together with copies of relevant insurances and certificates of currency.

Do I need to reapply if I already have a permit?

If you have an existing permit you do not need to do anything unless you want to change your outdoor area or establish semi-permanent structures, or if your permit is due to expire and needs to be renewed. 

What if I want to change my business? 

If you are going to make any changes to your business (for example, if you want to extend your outdoor area, or establish a semi-permanent structure) you will need to apply for an amendment to your permit.

What additional information may be required as part of the Assessment Process?

Once your application has been received you will be sent an email acknowledging receipt of your application. An officer from the Government may contact you and seek further information. The type of information you may be asked to provide information about includes:

  • Specification of structural works (if any).
  • Construction certificate – this is required where semi-fixed structures or building works are proposed. 
  • Financial Assurance Conditions– if the permitted activity of your business will cause serious or material damage to the land, a financial assurance condition may be imposed on the permit. This may require a bank guarantor, bond, insurance policy or other form of assurance to compensate the ACT Government for damage to the land.
  • A Risk Assessment Management Plan (RAMP) may be required if your business activity is likely to cause undue risk to people or property. The most common reason for needing to complete a RAMP is if you propose to sell liquor. A RAMP template will be provided to you (if necessary) once your application has been lodged.

Should any of these be required you will be contacted by the assessing officer. The officer will discuss the specific requirements with you.

What if my permit is refused or made subject to conditions?

Once your application has been assessed you will be notified of one of the following outcomes:

  • You will be issued an Outdoor Dining Permit; 
  • You will be issued an Outdoor Dining Permit subject to conditions. These conditions may include:
  • the outdoor area cannot be used after midnight
  • amplified music cannot be provided in the outdoor area.


  • You may be refused to be issued an Outdoor Dining Permit. This would be an outcome where it has been determined that the proposed outdoor dining area would cause significant impact on people lawfully at adjacent or nearby places.

What might prevent my application from being approved?

  • The dimensions of the outdoor area do not provide sufficient area for pedestrians or vehicles to safely traverse around it.
  • The area proposed being on leased land.
  • The area is on grass, gravel, a slope or generally unsafe for the placement of tables and chairs.
  • The applicant is not a suitable person.

If you are refused a permit, or issued a permit subject to conditions, you can make an appeal to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT).

Can an Outdoor Dining Permit be transferred?

If you are selling your business you can apply to transfer the ownership of your permit by submitting an Application for transfer of an outdoor cafe permit.

This will assess the suitability of the new applicant and the ongoing nature of your business.

What are my responsibilities as a permit holder?

If you are successful in your application, as the holder of an Outdoor Dining Area Permit you are responsible for the following:

  1. You need to ensure that all furniture and objects in the area are safe for use by all members of the public;
  2. You need to ensure that the permit area remains clean and tidy, in good repair and that any objects or rubbish associated with the outdoor dining area are removed from the permit area and its surroundings. For information visit the TAMS website;
  3. You need to ensure compliance with noise restrictions, particularly when trading at night;
  4. You need to be aware of disability laws. For more information on the disability laws visit or;
  5. You need to maintain public liability insurance to the value of $20 million indemnifying the Territory for damage or injury.

How will the conditions of my permit be enforced?

The ORS conducts pro-active inspections as well as in response to complaints and to follow up cancelled or suspended permits. This is done to ensure compliance with the Public Unleased Land Act 2013

When will regulatory action be taken?

If you contravene a condition of your permit, or, provide false or misleading information in an application, regulatory action will occur. This may result in conditions being imposed on your permit, or your permit being suspended or cancelled. It may also result in you being disqualified from applying for another permit.

Can I appeal a decision?

You can appeal a decision to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT).

Are there other business considerations?

If you are establishing your business you should consider the following:

  • Music: Do you wish to play music in the outdoor dining area?
  • Lighting: Do you wish to provide additional lighting?
  • Amenities: Have you considered amenities for patrons, such as toilets?
  • Extra Waste: Have you considered what will happen with the extra waste generated by the establishment of the outdoor dining area?

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