Outdoor Dining

It’s now easier for councils and businesses to offer outdoor dining

A trial of a streamlined application process for alfresco dining is now available to councils across NSW. Changes to liquor regulation and planning requirements have been made to allow councils to streamline their own approval processes and join the trial. 

The trial supports food and beverage businesses to expand their outdoor dining onto areas such as footpaths and public spaces until 31 October 2021.

The City of Sydney and areas such as The Rocks and Darling Harbour are already involved in the trial, with venues benefiting from increased business and the community enjoying dining out in a COVID Safe way

NSW Government processes streamlined to support the trial

Councils can process outdoor dining applications from existing small bars and pubs as exempt development (without needing a development application for the outdoor dining area) until 31 October 2021. This was already the process for food and beverage venues such as cafes and restaurants. Councils will continue to process outdoor dining approvals under the Roads Act, Local Government Act and their own policies.

Once council approves the application, liquor licence boundary changes (if applicable) are generally approved by Liquor & Gaming NSW within three days, reduced from 30 days. The application fee for this change is also waived.

Councils can use the ePlanning digital service on the NSW Planning Portal to help streamline processes. Councils can use their own application systems if preferred.

Information for councils

Councils are encouraged to join the trial and support local businesses to expand outdoor dining by:

  • identifying areas within towns, central business districts and high streets where outdoor dining could occur or expand
  • streamlining council outdoor dining area approval processes where possible.

The Office of Local Government is supporting councils to join in the trial by encouraging the following:

Join the trial

Councils who would like to express an interest or wish to seek more information about participating in the streamlined outdoor dining process should contact their Office of Local Government Council Engagement Manager at olg@olg.nsw.gov.au or by phone on 02 4428 4100.