NSW splashes cash on hospitality, offering vouchers and $5,000 outdoor dining grants

Pubs, cafes and restaurants in New South Wales are set to cash in on a fresh round of business support, after the Premier announced additional vouchers and a $66 million alfresco dining package.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said in a statement on Wednesday all adults across the state will receive an extra two Dine and Discover vouchers thanks to a $250 million top up of the voucher scheme.

Today, the NSW government unveiled details of a $66 million outdoor dining package, including $5000 grants to help businesses build alfresco areas, changes to planning rules and funding for street festivals.

Wes Lambert, chief executive of Restaurant and Catering, says he had been calling on the NSW government to increase outdoor dining and extend the voucher program for some time.

“It seems like the NSW government is listening to the hospitality industry, which will allow us to come out on the other side of this lockdown and go from strength to strength,” Lambert tells SmartCompany.

More vouchers on the table

The $250 million injection to the Dine and Discover voucher scheme will give every adult resident an additional two $25 vouchers, regardless of whether they have used their previous ones.

The vouchers can be used in participating hospitality and entertainment businesses, such as pubs and cinemas, until June next year.

Since the scheme began in March, almost 4.8 million people have redeemed a voucher, giving businesses a $430 million boost, according to the NSW government.

Summer dining boost

The $66 million Alfresco Restart Package will be rolled out from November and cover four key initiatives.

These programs include five outdoor festivals, such as the summer nights program and summer street event, which will give funding to councils to help stage public events.

Hospitality businesses will continue to benefit from recent changes to planning rules, with the NSW government making some changes to outdoor dining permanent.

“Businesses who had enjoyed alfresco dining during the 2020 lockdown will certainly benefit from now having certainty that they will be able to continue to use those outdoor areas,” Lambert says.

An emergency temporary measure will allow businesses to set up outdoor dining spaces on public and private land, such as parks, registered clubs and open spaces.

This temporary measure mean that existing bars and pubs can use adjacent sites such as carparks or open space to serve food and drinks.

To help small businesses make the most of these changes, one-off cash grants of $5000 will be available.

While the full details of the grants are yet to be released, the payments are intended to help businesses cover the cost of building new dining areas outside.

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