14 October 2021

The region’s peak business organisation, Business Illawarra has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement of more funds for businesses, councils and individuals, aimed at to boosting the hospitality sector out of lockdown and kicking off a summertime alfresco revolution.

The NSW Government has announced a range of measures to facilitate outdoor dining under the ‘Alfresco Restart Initiative’, including:

  • $5,000 grants to expand or make improvements to their alfresco areas;
  • A six-month emergency exemption for venues to expand onto private land;
  • Two additional, $25 ‘Dine and Discover’ vouchers for eligible adults;
  • The permanent easing of rules for dining on footpaths and public spaces; and
  • Up to $500,000 in grants to Councils to improve high streets and surrounding areas.

“The importance of outdoor dining to the recovery of our region’s hospitality sector cannot be overstated, and a recent report found that during the pandemic, 75 percent of businesses that expanded an outdoor dining offering generated at least an additional $1,642 per week in revenue,” said Business Illawarra Executive Director Adam Zarth.

“Councils will be integral to driving this ‘alfresco revolution’ forward, and we hope that they take full advantage of the $500,000 in grants to beautify our streetscapes, as well as the reduction in red tape to make sure their approvals processes are easy to navigate for small businesspeople who are time-poor and often understaffed.”

“Hospitality businesses will welcome the $5,000 grants to expand their offering by purchasing additional furniture, weather protection, lighting, temporary ground surfaces and even paying entertainers.”

“Importantly these grants are limited to 5,000 businesses on a first in first served basis, so I would encourage those businesses who fit the criteria to get their application in as soon as possible. We want to see as many businesses in the Illawarra as possible access these grants.”

“There’s more good news on the ‘Dine and Discover’ front as well, with the evidence clearly showing that people are spending more than the $25 that the voucher contains, meaning businesses are not only benefitting from the stimulus, but are also gaining new customers.”

“Businesses are enthusiastic about the coming months as people return to their favourite cafes restaurants and attractions like cinemas, Symbio Wildlife Park and Jamberoo Action Park in our region. This welcome support will help a number of smaller businesses get back on their feet and employ more locals.”

“The hospitality sector has suffered immensely over the past two years, and this support will encourage people to get out and about during the Summer months and enjoy what their local businesses have to offer,” Mr Zarth said.