Making outdoor dining easy for businesses

Cafés, restaurants and food businesses in Port Stephens will find it easier to expand their business outdoors as Council joins a NSW Government initiative to make outdoor dining permits more accessible.

From 1 January 2018, Port Stephens food businesses can join the Easy to do Business initiative, which introduces a simple self-assessment process for outdoor dining permits.

Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer says he hopes to see local businesses take advantage of the initiative, which has been well received in other Local Government Areas (LGAs).

“As a passionate advocate for local business, I know that any opportunity to expand and attract more customers is welcome, while the community also benefits from being able to dine alfresco at even more venues across Port Stephens,” Mayor Palmer said.

“Previously food businesses wanting to offer outdoor dining had to comply with nine pieces of legislation across many government agencies, familiarising themselves with local council requirements and navigating a complex approval process.

“This trial will see businesses completing a single application form together with a fast-tracked approval process. Administration fees will continue to be waived during the trial period, which is a win for business,” he said.

“I hope to see all of our local food businesses jumping on board the trial and taking advantage of this opportunity to offer outdoor dining,” he added.

The Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner has worked with local councils to develop the simplified Interim Outdoor Dining Policy and together with Service NSW, has identified ways to streamline the application process.

Council's Economic Development Coordinator, Jane Perrin, says the trial will help bring vibrancy to town centres across Port Stephens.

“Outdoor dining benefits both the community and businesses. It brings life to our town centres, it brings people out on the streets and creates a wonderful atmosphere for visitors and residents.

“The trial will be held across the entire LGA for six months, making it easy for food businesses to offer outdoor dining to their customers,” she said.

The Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner will evaluate trial results and aim to develop a State-wide policy for businesses.

For further information on the Outdoor Dining trial visit