The Victorian government is rolling out a raft of outdoor spending initiatives as part of a $54.5 million Outdoor Economy package in a bid to kickstart the hospitality industry as the state reopens for Summer.
As part of the package, grants of $2,000 will be made available to businesses, community organisations, not-for-profits and trader associations once they spend at least that amount on valid expenses, like purchasing marquees, umbrellas, and other outdoor equipment.
Roughly 7,000 businesses stand to benefit from the grants, which the Andrews government said will be extended to small businesses like hairdressers, beauty services and retail to encourage kerbside trading.
The package also includes a new $40 million outdoor activation fund, which will be given to councils across the state, who will then administer the funds to businesses to support short- and long-term outdoor entertainment and trading setups.
Of that $40 million package, $20.5 million will be given to councils who will give the cash to businesses in need of immediate assistance in order to operate outdoors through physical improvements like street furniture and landscaping.
The office of Premier Daniel Andrews said the funding will be allocated to councils based on their level of business activity.
The tiered funding allocation will see metropolitan councils pocket between $300,000 and $800,000, while regional councils will get between $300,000 and $500,000, and rural councils will get between $100,000 and $250,000.
A further $19.5 million will be given to councils across Victoria to begin planning and building permanent and semi-permanent “outdoor precincts”.
The funding could see outdoor permit fees and charges in some council areas waived as part of the scheme, and could even require councils to commit to not raising or imposing any new fees for operating outdoors.
On top of the state package, the City of Melbourne will continue to receive separate funding under the Melbourne City Recovery Fund and the Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund, worth $100 million and $200 million respectively.
Minister for Small Business Jaala Pulford said the package should give businesses an opportunity to reopen in creative new ways as the state heads into Summer.
“This is about giving businesses support to reopen in safe and new ways, ensuring they can recover strongly and quickly,” Pulford said.
“Our small businesses are rearing to go and this will mean more customers and more trade as we move ever closer to our key vaccination targets.”
Minister for Local Government Shaun Leane welcomed the package, and the opportunity it will give local councils and businesses to jumpstart the state’s hospitality and retail industries.
“Councils will work with their communities to breathe new life into streets and shopping strips across the state, making the most of outdoor opportunities this summer and beyond,” Leane said.