Categories: Australia

City gives green light to outdoor dining through 2025, but it comes with a caveat

The city of Sydney will not collect outdoor dining fees until mid-2025 as it works out how to make the outdoor phenomenon permanent without landlords raising rents for cafes and restaurants.

Mayor Clover Moore cautioned that the decision to extend the program “should not be viewed by others as an opportunity to increase rents or unfairly favor some in the community over others.”

Outdoor dining in Surry Hills.Credit:Anna Kucera

The council’s decision on Monday to waive outdoor dining fees for another two years, beyond this council’s current mandate, effectively embodies an initiative that has been embraced by Sydneysiders.

Moore said current economic uncertainty and “heaven help us” the specter of another wave of COVID-19 meant the program should continue.

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“People have loved it. They have loved celebrating their towns and being on the streets,” she said.
“We are being threatened with another [coronavirus] wave and I think we all hope we don’t have to close for Christmas.”

Trail eating can now continue through July 2025 without paying additional fees, costing the council about $4 million in lost revenue.

However, from May, cafes and restaurants will need to apply for council approval to continue outdoor installations on a street or road. Moore noted that while these would be considered, “the demand for street parking is increasing.”

Liberal councilor Lyndon Gannon, who campaigned to “keep Sydney outdoors”, accused Moore of pounced on his idea. “Like a seagull outside a fish and chip shop, she took my last lead,” he said. “Okay though, I don’t need to cut all the ribbons.”

Gannon said the council should have gone to the Liberal state government to pay for the extension as state elections are imminent. The motion agreed on Monday calls on Moore to ask Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet to commit more money and infrastructure to street dining.

Jacky

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