Business Events and Support

Information about extended outdoor dining can be found here.

There are many elements that go into creating successful, active, colourful and vibrant local shopping strips. Footpath trading or having business activity take place on the footpath is one of those essential elements.

Another important factor is ensuring easy and safe access to the footpath by shoppers and visitors of all ages and abilities. By law, footpaths are primarily for the use of pedestrians. However, they can also be used by businesses for things like outdoor dining, displaying goods, and for advertising boards.

With COVID-19 restrictions easing, we are all looking forward to socialising outdoors again and being able to enjoy Darebin’s wide-ranging street life. As our local hospitality businesses pivot again, we want to support you so you can welcome back customers in new outdoor settings.

Council’s Extended Outdoor Dining Project has been made possible with support from the Victorian Government. We are aiming to increase outdoor dining spaces in a Covid safe, socially distanced environment.

This program has been designed to actively support hospitality venues safely expand outdoor dining areas into approved public spaces and operate within the health restrictions advised by the Victorian Government. The Checklist and Frequently Asked Questions provide details about the application process, assessment criteria and decision-making framework.

We welcome applications from businesses to extend trading onto footpaths and adjacent car parks. We will work as quickly as possible to assess your application. If you have other ideas, you are also welcome to submit a proposal and let us know.

We will assess permit application and proposals on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration amenity, safety and site-specific conditions such as impacts on residents, as well as the need to maintain social distancing and provide ease of access for pedestrians and essential vehicles.

How do I apply?
Applications open 2 October 2020 3pm – apply online now. Businesses can also contact the Better Approvals team on 8470 8344 or at for further information and support. Footpath Activities Policy and Trading Booklet references to consider safety and furniture design requirements and principles, access on footpaths and amenity. Examples of footpath trading floor plans can be viewed below.

COVID Safe Plans
Any business wishing to provide table service in outdoor dining areas will be required to have a COVID Safe Plan and comply with patron limits designated for outdoor spaces Please view Victoria’s current restrictions levels for the latest information on COVID-19 business restrictions.

For some businesses and sole traders, the bravest decision is to ask for help. On this page you’ll find a great range of free and accessible resources, provided by Council and other organisations, to support the wellbeing of you, your family and your employees to support your business. Listen to some calming podcasts, read about how to support your staff, and find someone to talk to – all for free!

Welcome to our Business Health Hub. 

The Business Health Hub is an initiative of Darebin City Council’s $11.8m Community and Business Resilience and Recovery Package.

Darebin’s health and wellbeing program

Darebin is pleased to make available a host of health and wellbeing resources through Converge International. Supports available include:

  • Free counselling sessions for you, employees and your immediate family. Discussions can cover a range of areas including management, career, personal and financial advice.
  • A great set of resources available via the portal, including webinars, workshops and easy to read factsheets covering topics like:
    • Balancing Work and Home Life
    • Mindfulness Tip Sheet
    • Taking Positive Steps through Change
  • For more resources or to book a counselling session, log in to the Portal with Username: darebinbusiness Password: converge

You can call 1300 687 327 for more information or to organise a counselling session. We’re pleased to share the service also offers specialist support for:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander – 1300 287 432
  • LGBTIQ+ - 1300 542 874
  • Domestic and Family Violence Helpline - 1300 338 465
  • Eldercare Helpline - 1300 035 337
  • Disability and Carers Helpline - 1300 243 543

Business owner wellbeing

Many of our local small business owners are focusing on their businesses and trying to look after loved ones and employees. You might not have prioritised your own mental wellbeing. Now, more than ever, small business owner wellbeing is important.

The Victorian Small Business Commission has a number of resources to help small business owners develop a mental health plan. The easy to use guide sets out how to identify changes in yourself and what actions you can take in response.

You can also visit Ahead for Business for a quick 2 minute survey to gauge your business stress levels and receive tips and tools, based on your response, to help you get ahead in business. 

Wellbeing in the workplace

Looking for some ideas on how to support your team to feel well and connected during this time? Take a look at Heads Up for lots of information about wellbeing in the workplace, including for small businesses, employees and employers. The page, developed in partnership with BeyondBlue, includes free online training sessions that you can do at your own pace, as well as resources and guides to help you navigate mental health.

Immediate support

If you need immediate help and want to talk to someone now, there is help at hand,

  • 13 11 14 - Lifeline Call 24/7 for crisis support and suicide prevention services
  • 1300 375 330 –Partners in Mental Health Support Hotline for partners including NEAMI, EACH and ACSO

Looking to further strengthen, develop and grow your business?

Our Business Recovery Program assists Darebin businesses to grow, develop and maximise opportunities to support local employment and sustainable businesses.

Continuous innovation and development are key factors in building a sustainable, resilient and successful business. In this program you will receive free one on one mentoring, business capability assessments and tailored long term strategy advice to grow and develop, or improve local employment, workforce and export capacity. This program is open to all Darebin businesses from any sector.

What will the Business Recovery Program provide?

Through the Business Recovery Program, you will receive a one-on-one confidential service from an industry expert. This includes assessment, advice and a development strategy tailored to your business. During the Program our industry expert will work with you to identify market opportunities, your business strengths and to develop strategies to expand future capacity.

Since 2014, we have supported a number of businesses, particularly to go global. To find out more and be involved, register your interest in the Darebin Business Recovery Program. Applications close 5pm, Monday 7 December 2020.

Please note this program is open to Darebin businesses only.


Past participants have said:

“[The Darebin Business Mentor] is a great asset to any business who engages with the program. [Their] work, networks, business expertise, and advice are excellent. [They are also] proactive, intelligent and go-getter[s] that will expedite any business to their goals.” – Penny Weber, Owner of Recovawear

“ [The Darebin Business Mentor] encouraged us to manufacture our own product rather than just providing a bespoke service, because we have all the facilities already in place. [They] opened our eyes to the possibility of exporting product as an additional income stream." – Charles Sandford, Owner of Charles Sandford

“[The Darebin Business Mentor] has a wealth of knowledge, [and] I have learnt many valuable tips which have benefited me in the course of my business. I would highly recommend this program.” – John Akkary, Owner of Akkary Fine Foods



On this page you will find free resources, ideas and training to help fine tune, strengthen or grow your business. Learn how to manage your cashflow and free one on one business mentoring – everything you need to make your business shine!

Welcome to our Business Strengthening page. 

One on one free mentoring

Melbourne Innovation Centre, Darebin’s leading business incubator hub, is offering a free Business Resilience program, specifically designed to assist small businesses suffering the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. You can access free virtual mentoring, tailored to your needs, as well as online workshops, and resources.

Small Business Victoria is also offering free small business mentoring. Whether you're new to running a business or a seasoned business owner, an experienced mentor can help you refine your business strategy, map out some directions and set goals for your business to succeed.

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce is currently calling for expressions of interests for businesses to be involved in their Business Resilience and Recovery mentoring program. Detailed information can be found on their website. This Program will be open to businesses with 20 or less employees.

Council is offering two hours of free personalised mentoring for those businesses that have more than 20 employees and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led businesses. To express your interest please email

If you’re looking for additional, specific mentoring, please call our Business Support Line on 8470 8888 to discuss your needs and options.

Holistic business development

Looking to better manage your business overall? Below are a number of resources available to help you manage cashflow, develop business contingency plans and learn new skills to excel and be inspired.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led businesses Kinaway, the Aboriginal Business Chamber of Commerce, offer business coaching and support through a paid membership.

Visit My Business Health for some tools to help you get your business going from strength to strength. This includes cash flow tips, information on managing your staff, ideas on marketing and where to get expert advice.

The impacts of coronavirus are being felt by many of Darebin businesses. Get practical help with free online courses and events to help you prepare for a strong recovery. Upskill My Business connects you to resources from the state’s top education providers and industry experts.

If you’re looking to join an association, Victorian Chamber Commerce and Industry (VCCI) is currently offering free memberships to local businesses which gives you access to regular webinars, industry information and mental health support.

There is a lot of COVID-19 specific assistance available for business, for example you can visit the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia for a summary.

If you’re looking to better understand what you can access, call Darebin’s Business Support line on 8470 8888. We can help you through the many offers from Council, State and Federal government.


Council have initiated the Darebin Business Webinar Series to help support you and your business through the current climate.

For sole traders, businesses and organisations, re-opening or adjusting to the 'new normal' is going to be a challenge. As part of Darebin City Council’s $11.8M Community and Business Resilience and Recovery Package, Council have initiated the Darebin Business Webinar Series to help support you and your business through the current climate.


The webinars, run by local Darebin businesses or residents, will cover topics including strengthening your financial position, pivoting your business model, think like an entrepreneur, digital marketing, eCommerce, SEO for your website and online store, leadership, wellbeing and much more.


For more information and to register go to Darebin Business Webinar Series.


More sessions will be added in the coming weeks, so keep up to date with the latest click the Follow button (top right corner) on Eventbrite link.


Webinar Resources

Session 1: Strengthening your financial position – Presentation Slides


Session 2: Pivoting your business: Case studies and conversation – Presentation Slides


Session 3: Making the change: Going digital – Presentation Slides


Session 4: How to stay connected with your customers during a crisis – Presentation Slides


Session 5: Think like an entrepreneur: Customer mindset opportunities – Presentation Slides


Session 6: Social media 101: Tips, tricks and timesavers Presentation Slides


Session 7: How to setup your own Shopify store – Presentation Slides


Session 8: How to optimise your website and online store with SEO – Presentation Slides


Session 9: How to understand eCommerce data – Presentation Slides


Session 11: Leadership during difficult times – Presentation Slides


Session 12: How to bring the best out of your employees – Presentation Slides

Session 13: Benefits for all: Growing food in the workplace – Presentation Slides


Do you have a business idea to benefit the Darebin community? Can you pitch it under 5 minutes?

Darebin Pitch It is back…and bigger than ever!


Darebin Pitch It gives anyone from the community, including local students, graduates, entrepreneurs and businesses, the opportunity to turn innovative start-up ideas into a reality. The competition supports up-and-coming founders in the Darebin community to create and scale new and innovative sustainability and social impact start-ups that encourage our city, society and environment to be bolder, more connected and healthier. 


The competition includes four stages – Applications, Pitch It Day, Accelerator and an open to the public Grand Final event – and a chance to win the grand prize!


To be eligible to enter, individuals or teams must either live, work or study in the City of Darebin. 


For more information and to apply visit Darebin Pitch It website




Darebin City Council is committed to working with our community to promote women in leadership across local business, the community sector and our organisation.

Darebin Women and Leadership 2020 is an initiative of Council and is a funded pilot program. It will give women, from across sectors, the opportunity to expand their knowledge, skills and confidence. Participants will learn and share with other talented and successful women who have had a profound impact in their organisations, communities and wider society.

Who should take this program?

This program is for women living or working in the City of Darebin, across all industries. This includes anyone who identifies as women and non-binary people. Darebin is seeking expressions of interest to identify people who would like to participate in the pilot program.

This program is for you if:

• you want to harness your own unique leadership strengths and styles;

• you want to develop your capabilities to lead, influence and negotiate; and

• you want to be part of and learn from a talented and supportive network of women leaders.

Program outline:

Over five months, participants are expected to attend four capability-building workshops, an expert leadership panel and individual coaching.

Half-day action learning workshops
1. Authentic leadership
2. Communication, influence and negotiation 
3. Resilience and managing change
4. Creative leadership

Specialist Coaching 
Participants will receive two coaching sessions focused on an area nominated by each participant informed by their reflective practice throughout the program.  

Applications for the Women and Leadership 2020 Pilot Program has closed.

Leadership panel 
Join three inspiring women leaders as they share their motivations, expertise and personal leadership journeys. We know that women and non-binary people are underrepresented in leadership positions across nearly all sectors as a result of systemic discrimination and sexism. This initiative forms just one component of Council’s broader efforts and commitment to improving gender equity and preventing gender-based violence.

Panelists include:

  • Karen Milward, Consultant at Karen Milward Consulting
  • Sherene Hassan, Director of Education and Community Engagement at the Islamic Museum of Australia
  • Abiola Ajetomobi, Director at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Innovation Hub

We will also hear from Darebin City Council's very own CEO, Sue Wilkinson.

This leadership panel marks the culmination of the Darebin Women and Leadership Pilot Program. This program supported 31 women leaders, including 10 members of our community, 10 business owners and 10 council staff, plus one staff member from Towong Shire Council, to develop leadership skills and capability. This event will be held online on 16 September at 11am. Spaces are limited so register now to avoid disappointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Council doing this?
Council is committed to gender equity and the prevention of violence against women. One way of doing this is to ensure that women are better represented in leadership roles, across all sectors. Currently, women are underrepresented. Our aim is that, through this program, women (and non-binary people) will be able to develop their leadership capabilities and gain leadership positions in their career.
The program aligns with Council strategies and priorities including Goals 4, 5 and 6 of the Council Plan 2017-21 and Action Areas 1 and 3 of the Gender Equity and Preventing Violence Against Women Action Plan (2019-23)

Do I have to live in Darebin to participate?
You do not have to live in Darebin. However, you must show that your leadership will be benefiting the Darebin community. Those applying in the local business stream must work in or operate businesses in Darebin. Those applying for the community stream must be living, working, studying or playing in Darebin (or show how you are connected to the Darebin community).

How much will this program cost?
This is a pilot program and ten participants each from the local business community, our community organisations, and Council staff will be invited into the program. There is no cost to successful participants.

Why does the program include council staff, community members and local businesses?
We have structured the program in this way so that people from different sectors have an opportunity to learn from another. Our aim is that this structure will give all participants insight into areas and work that they may not otherwise be exposed to.

Do I need to currently be in a leadership position to apply?
No. People who are looking to expand their leadership capability are encouraged to apply.

Do I have to attend the whole program to be able to apply?
Yes, we will provide the dates to all workshops, panels and coaching sessions to successful participants. Attendance for all sessions will ensure that you receive maximum benefit and also graduate form the program.  

What is the selection criteria?
Applications will be panel reviewed and assessed based on responses to the online application form.

What if I am having difficulties in completing the form or have questions about the program?
Please feel welcome to contact 8470 8418 or email

Everything you need to know about starting a business in Darebin, including planning, regulations, and advice on managing and growing your business.

Whether you have a fantastic new business idea or you’re looking to take over an existing operation, it’s important to have accurate information about all aspects of starting a business.

We can help you understand the market you’re entering, your business obligations, the planning process, and more.

Useful Information
1. Planning – Planning permits are required for any land use or development.
2. Food, Health and Safety – Specific permits are required if you are operating a food or health business.
3. Local Laws – A permit is required if you intend to place permanent or temporary items, e.g. signs, tables, chairs, or merchandise, on public footpaths.
4. Building Planning – Building permits are required for any work that includes erection of canopies or signage.
5. Transport, Traffic and Parking Management – Permits are required for street closures, parking and filming in Darebin.

Darebin Enterprise Centre Ltd (DECL)
The Darebin Enterprise Centre is a non-profit organisation that can help with the start up and growth of your small business.

Further Information
Website: Darebin Enterprise Centre Ltd
Ph: 9499 9100

Business Victoria
The Business Victoria website is a comprehensive online resource offering a range of services. They can help you with starting or buying a business, finding the right licences, employing and managing people, and much more.

Further Information
Business Development
Ph: 8470 8344

We provide information and guidance, including mentoring and management advice, business connections, and education and training.

Online Resources

Support and Advice 

  • Darebin Enterprise Centre Ltd (DECL) is a non-profit organisation that can help with the start up and growth of your small business.
  • Enterprise Connect is an Australian Government initiative that offers advice and support to small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Small Business Mentoring Service is an independent non-profit organisation that provides one-on-one advice from an experienced mentor in your field.
  • Business Victoria is a comprehensive online resource offering a range of services such as starting or buying a business, finding the right licences, employing and managing people, and much more.
  • Social Traders is a non-profit organisation that supports and encourages the establishment of social enterprises Australia-wide. Social Enterprises take a number of forms and deliver outcomes as diverse as employment for the disadvantaged, production of important goods and services, or fundraising for other charitable activities and community projects.
  • NORTH Link is a northern regional partnership of industry, education and government established for the purposes of economic development, regional marketing and promotion of Melbourne’s north. NORTH Link also provides information to prospective business investors in Melbourne’s north.
  • Inner Northern Group Training was established by local government to promote employment through the apprenticeship and traineeship systems.
  • The Inner Northern Local Learning and Employment Network (INLLEN) is a non-profit organisation funded by the Victorian Government that aims to improve education, training and employment outcomes for young people aged 10-19 years in the municipalities of Darebin, Moreland and Yarra.

Education and Training

  • LaTrobe University run their courses in Entrepreneurship and Business at their Bundoora location. They also run an accelerator for startups and have expanded into a range of online and short courses.
  • Melbourne Polytechnic TAFE have industry-specific courses on Entrepreneurship, Business Management and short courses. For more information you can visit their Northland Skills and Jobs Centre.
  • Unemployed? Have a great business idea? Check out New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS). It’s a Commonwealth Government funded program that provides help to unemployed people who would like to start a small business.
  • APlus is a training company that help employers in the northern metropolitan area find the right staff. They also work with apprentices and trainees to find job opportunities.

Employment Services Providers 

Darebin is home to a number of employment and job services providers that can help your business find and keep the right people.

These are non-profit private organisations – Job Services – that can provide staff for any position as well as specialist support for job seekers with disabilities through Disability Employment Services.

Further Information  

Business Development 
Ph: 8470 8344 


Local businesses making a difference in Darebin.

Social enterprises are businesses that trade to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities, provide people access to employment and training or help the environment (definition from Social Traders, an acknowledged provider of support and resources to the social enterprise community in Australia, including a supplier portal).

Darebin City Council has many social enterprises in a variety of industry sectors, from very well established ones such as Clean Force Property Services and the Fair Food division of the Ceres group through to those just getting established and working out their market sector.

Darebin's Economic Development team provides support and assistance to these as a priority from Council's Action Plan of 2018/ 2019.

This support culminated in the establishment of a social enterprise network which met for the first time in October 2018.

Many of Darebin's social enterprises can be found in our Business Directory and we invite others to register on this directory so that we can continue to grow the sector.

In addition to the support provided by Darebin's Economic Development team, there are also resources from the Victorian State government, deriving from the Social Enterprise Strategy launched in 2017 and the Social Procurement Framework launched in 2018.

We host a range of events for our business community here in Darebin.

To help you develop and grow your business in Darebin, we host a range of events that focus on areas such as networking, training, mentoring and much more.  These are all great opportunities to keep your business growing and connect you with our thriving business community.


Business Events in Darebin
Event Date Time Location Cost Booking details 

Taxation Workshop

Tax Essentials

Tuesday 21 May 5.30 - 7.30pm  Happy Hubbub, 239a Murray Rd, Preston Free  ATO workshops May 21
Social Enterprise Workshop 

Tuesday 28 May

Tuesday 29 May

10am - 1pm TBC, Preston Free


Pitch It Final   Thursday 30 May 5.30pm - 9.30pm Sycamore Meadows, 759 Gilbert Rd, Reservoir Free  Pitch It Grand Final
Northern Business Achievement Awards Thursday 6 June 7am - 9am Mantra Bell City Ballroom, 205 Bell St, Preston $60 NBAA tickets
Taxation Workshop

Single Touch Payroll

 Tuesday 9 July 5.30 - 6.30pm  Happy Hubbub, 239a Murray Rd, Preston Free  ATO workshop July 9

Further Information:
Phone: 8470 8344

Below are some current business opportunities including any current Tenders

A call to all Darebin artists!

Are you a graphic designer, artist, street artist or creative business? If you are interested in upcoming opportunities, commissions or projects within Darebin we want to hear from you. Please send your contact details, digital examples of your work and a brief description of your practice to


PaTH Program

Thinking of taking on a young person into your business?  The PaTH program has been specifically designed by the Department of Employment to make it easier and more attractive for business to employ 15 – 24 y.o. It does this by offering an incentive of $1000 for you to trial a young person for at least 4 weeks, then tops it off by providing a wage subsidy of at least $6500 if you offer ongoing employment to that person.  Additionally, the program provides job readiness training to people so that you can be confident the person you are taking on is ready to hit the ground running.  All the details can be found on the Department of Employment’s website.  What are waiting for – give a young person a chance today. 

Industry Capability Network

Industry Capability Network The Industry Capability Network (ICN) is a business network that introduces Australian and New Zealand companies to projects large and small.

The ICN is an independent organisation financially supported by Australian, New Zealand, state and territory governments. Since it started 30 years ago, ICN has helped local suppliers find $30 billion worth of contracts.

ICN bridges the information gap between buyers and sellers by providing advice and services to clients in all industries by:
  • Finding the best Australian products and suppliers
  • Facilitating import replacement
  • Assisting with Victorian Industry Participation Policy enquiries and plans (VIPP)
  • Supporting major industrial, energy and infrastructure projects
  • Accessing Global Supply Chains
  • Providing Tariff Concession Order applications services
  • Offering Enhanced Project By-Law Scheme research services
  • Administering industry and sectoral research

To find out more or to register go to the ICN website.

Respect the rule campaign

Every day young workers face humiliating and sexually suggestive remarks from customers, managers and co-workers, as well as being bullied, groped and threatened.  Hospitality workers have come together to develop a powerful campaign ‘Respect the Rule’ to make venues safe for everyone. Darebin strongly supports this campaign and encourages businesses to participate by:

  1. Signing a pledge stating you will only go to venues that have a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment. Click here to sign.
  2. Venues can sign the ‘Respect Is the Rule’ Pledge to help create safe and respectful environments for their staff. Venues who pledge are listed on the campaign website. Click here to find out more info.

Everybody deserves to be safe at work. For more details

The Active Spaces in Darebin program works with real estate agents, property owners and creative business to transform areas which have an abundance of vacant shops, graffiti tagging and bill posters into economically stimulated and culturally charged destinations.

The Active Spaces in Darebin is delivered with a hands-on approach, providing support with:

  • Assistance in finding an appropriate property
  • Negotiating a reasonable rent with the real estate agent or the property owner
  • If required negotiating a short term lease agreement with the option to use our Exclusive Licence Agreement.
  • Business mentoring and business setup 101
  • Marketing , promotion and networking opportunities
  • Information and support with council permits and processes
  • Guidance to find suitable insurance
  • Promotion on our Facebook page and in other Council publications
  • Small one off grant to assist with start-up costs
  • Negotiating for the right property

Since the program launch we have worked with a broad range of creative businesses that have included:

  • Retail
  • Not-For-Profit projects
  • Social enterprises
  • Co-working spaces
  • Artist's requiring studio spaces, workshops & rehearsal spaces
  • Shop window galleries Art exhibitions/installations
  • Artists creating public art and murals

For a full list of creative businesses that have been involved in the program since 2012 click here.

For a full list of artists who have exhibited the work in vacant spaces throughout Darebin since 2012 click here.

The program has identified a number of priority areas for activation, the current priority areas are:

  • High Street Preston - from the Preston Council Offices to Bell Street.
  • High Street and Plenty Road, South Preston - from Bell Street to the Junction with Plenty Road
  • Plenty Road, South Reservoir - from Shakespeare Avenue to Ethel Grove (Tyler Street).

How to get involved:

Read the information sheet and contact us to discuss your creative project or business idea.

Further Information 
Brodie Butler-Robey 
Business Development

Ph: 8470 8480


NORTH Link and Northern Melbourne Regional Development Australia (RDA), proudly announce the launch of a unique report on the future workforce in Melbourne's North. Called "The Future Workforce: Melbourne’s North and the Food and Beverage Plan", the report has been prepared in collaboration with industry, education and local government in Melbourne’s North.

The Future Workforce: Melbourne's North 

The report was the vision of Northern Melbourne Regional Development Australia (RDA), the eight councils of Melbourne’s North, Metropolitan Planning Authority, NORTH Link, La Trobe University, RMIT University and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development who also funded the project.

Launched by the Hon Colin Brooks MP and Parliamentary Secretary to Premier of Victoria on 18th November 2015, report identifies:

  1. Current composition and capabilities of the Melbourne’s North workforce. 
  2. Where the future opportunities are and the likely industry requirements.
  3. The infrastructure investments required to increase in-region employment.
  4. A 7 STEP employment and skills strategy for Melbourne’s North over the next decade.
A regional action plan is being developed with La Trobe University; RMIT University; Melbourne Polytechnic and Bendigo Kangan Institute with the aim of ensuring that local industry has access to a skilled workforce and modern infrastructure for innovation and growth.

An Executive Summary and Full Report are available for download at no cost.  

To order your copy of a printed report they may be purchased for $110 (incl. GST) by contacting Deb Redmond or (03) 9479 3339.

The Food and Beverage Plan

The Food and Beverage Growth Plan – Melbourne’s North has been prepared on behalf of the Northern Melbourne Regional Development Australia (RDA) Committee by McKINNA et al.

The report provides a detailed analysis of the food and beverage processing and distribution sector in the northern Melbourne region, covering seven local government areas. It concludes that there is a wealth of opportunity to be built on despite the many issues facing the industry and area.

Help in the form of Funding and Support is available for your business.

 Boost your Business vouchers

The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources (DEDJTR) has established Boost Your Business Vouchers to support Victorian businesses to become more productive, employ more people, improve market access and in general, increase their scale, diversity and profitability.

Each Voucher Recipient may be able to receive up to:

  • $50,000 under the Advanced Victorian Manufacturing Stream
  • $50,000 under the Asia Gateway Stream
  • $50,000* under the Food Innovation Stream
    • *Up to $10,000 for early stage feasibility and testing vouchers
  • $25,000 under the Social Enterprise Capability Stream

Applicants should refer to each program guidelines for specific program eligibility criteria.

Program will be open for applications on 29 January. For full details of the program and eligibility criteria see the information at Business Victoria

Recycling Industry Transition Support Grants

$50,000 - $500,000 available

Round one expires Tuesday 8 May 2018 then continues monthly. 

Sustainability Victoria is offering grants to support Victoria's resource recovery sector to improve its capability in the wake of the recent announcements around waste imports.  The grants are available to recovery and reprocessing operators including those owned by local government authorities, not-for-profits and social enterprises. 

The grants are available for the following:

  • infrastructure, equipment and process upgrades at material recovery facilities (MRFs) to support greater sorting and decontamination of PPC waste
  • infrastructure and equipment upgrades to reprocess PPC waste (e.g. shred, wash, granulate, flake, pelletise) to a commercial grade to supply domestic manufacturers and export markets
  • storage and consolidation infrastructure (e.g. sheds, temporary cover) to allow for the short-term and safe storage of recovered PPC waste, that:
    • stores PPC waste materials for no more than 12 months; and
    • has a demonstrated path to reprocessing into commercial grade product

To access all details go to the Sustainability Victoria web page.


Workforce Training Innovation Fund (WTIF) 2018.

Up to $40m per annum available to fund innovative training initiatives

Hurry applications close 11 May.

Partnerships between industry and training providers can be established to apply for grants to fund industry based training.  Both Seed Funding and Grant Funding is available to initiatives that can demonstrate innovation either in their delivery or in what they want to achieve.

Training providers can either be TAFEs, private providers or Learn Locals and industry can include businesses of any size and scale, as long as they can demonstrate that they have been trading for a minimum of 3yrs.  However, groups of businesses can also come together to form consortia and apply on the basis of the training needs for the group. 

Funding applications can be submitted at any time.

For all information, fact sheets, case studies and updates, head to the State Government's Skills First site or call the Business Development team at Darebin Council to discuss your proposal: 8470 8344.


Sector Growth Program

$20 million Jobs Boost and Blueprint for Growth

2018 applications close midnight Wednesday 13 June.

This program builds on the Future Industries plans from the Victorian government and makes available grants of up to $1m per project. 

Two types of grants are available. 

1. Scoping, planning and feasibility studies:

Projects that will be considered for funding under Stream 1 of the program will focus on scoping, planning and feasibility studies directed at identifying opportunities aligned with the Future Industries Sector Strategies. Funding of up to $10,000 is available. Eligible activities can include:

  • Road mapping
  • Supply chain analysis
  • Sector capability audits
  • Economic impact analyses
  • Feasibility studies
  • Sector opportunity analysis
  • Pathway to market strategy

2. Project implementation:

Projects that will be considered will focus on the implementation of projects aligned with the Future Industries Sector Strategies that enhance the applicants’ and the sectors’ growth, productivity and competitiveness. Funding of up to $1 million will be available for projects in Stream 2. All funding must be matched by a minimum cash co-contribution of $1 for every $1 funded. Projects are to be completed within two (2) years of the negotiation of a suitable grant agreement. Relevant activities include but are not limited to:

  • Shared infrastructure solutions
  • Piloting new technologies, such as demonstration plant/equipment
  • Establishing consolidated industry capability.

To be eligible for either stream, applications must be submitted on behalf of a consortium with a lead applicant which can be either private sector businesses; not for profit organisations, such as educational or health institutions, Victorian local government authorities; Victorian public sector agencies.

For full details of the program and eligibility criteria see the information at Business Victoria

Local Industry Fund for Transition, Melbourne's North (LIFT)

The State Government has implemented this program, offering grants of up to $2 million to businesses based in the North. The fund replaces the established Melbourne's North Innovation and Investment Fund (MNIIF) and supports projects that create sustainable jobs and economic activity. Eligible project expenditure may include: purchase of equipment or machinery to assist business establishment or expansion, direct labour costs, construction or fit-out of a new building or extension to existing premises. There is a cash co-contribution of $3 for every $1 granted. Preference will be given to projects that create jobs for local workers facing retrenchment due to the closure of automotive manufacturing operations.

Read more about the programme on the Fact Sheet or submit an expression of interest.

Future Industries Manufacturing Program

The Victorian Government has established the $200m Future Industries Fund to support six high-growth sectors that have potential for extraordinary economic growth - to create jobs and attract investment in Victoria. Arising from this program is the Future Industries Manufacturing Program (FIMP) which offers generous grants for the manufacturing sector.


  • Grants of up to $500k per business called for. Grants of less than $100k will not be accepted.

Business should:

Have the ability to meet the co-contribution requirement ($3 for every $1 granted)

The program provides grants of up to 25 per cent of eligible project expenditure, with a maximum grant of $500,000. Applicants will need to demonstrate how the project outcomes justify the grant investment.

Eligible project expenditure includes the following activities relating to the proposed project:

  • Capital expenditure and other project-related non-capitalised expenditure (but does not include vehicles, internal costs or salaries)
  • Manufacturing product and process improvements (including significant improvements in technical specifications; components and materials; software in the project; user friendliness or other functional characteristics; and/or new or significantly improved production or delivery methods)
  • Prototyping, evaluation and testing of new products and manufacturing processes
  • Supply chain capability development
  • Tooling
  • Training specific to the technology (external costs only)
  • Labour and contractors (but does not include internal salaries)
  • Manufacturing machinery and equipment, (for example, repurposing state-of-the-art automotive manufacturing equipment), or
  • Minor building alterations and fit-out costs

Assessment Criteria

  1. Impact of the Project on Employment and Skills
  2. The Level of Economic Benefit the Proposed Project will bring to Victoria
  3. The Demonstrated Skills, Experience and Resources Available to the Business to Successfully Undertake the Project
  4. Value for Money
  5. Need for Government Support.

Victoria's Automotive Transition Plan

Towards Future Industries: Victoria's Automotive Transition Plan

The Victorian Government has announced its $46.5m Towards Future Industries: Victoria's Automotive Transition Plan to help businesses, workers and communities affected by the closure of automotive manufacturing operations to meet the challenges ahead and capitalise on emerging opportunities.

Assistance for businesses:

The Government has established the new $5m Automotive Supply Chain Transition Program to support Victorian automotive supply chain companies affected by the closure of passenger vehicle manufacturing in Victoria.

Assistance of up to $65,000 will be provided to eligible supply chain companies to help guide them through this period.

The funding will help companies develop a transition plan to identify new opportunities and target sectors and markets, and provide assistance to pursue those opportunities.

Find out more or apply for Automotive Supply Chain Transition Program.

Incubator Support Initiative

An initiative of the Federal Government, stemming out of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, this will support existing incubators and encourage the development of new ones.

The Incubator Support initiative provides funding through two components to deliver Incubator Support projects, both of which require matched funding from applicants.

The first is support for New and Existing Incubators:

  1. to help develop new incubators in regions or sectors with high potential for success in international trade, and
  2. to boost the effectiveness of high performing incubators, including funding support to expand their services and/or develop the innovation ecosystem.

The second is support for Expert-in-Residence:

  1. to provide access to top quality research, managerial and technical talent through secondments of national or international expert advisers who will improve their chance of commercial success in international markets.

Grant funding of up to 50 per cent of total Incubator Support Project Values will be available as follows:

  1. a minimum grant amount of $10,000 and a maximum grant amount of $500,000 for New and Existing Incubators per project with a maximum grant period of 24 months.
  2. a minimum grant amount of $1,000 and a maximum grant amount of $25,000 for Expert-In-Residence per project with a maximum grant period of 12 months

 More information, including application forms can be found on the National Science and Innovation Website.

New fund for small to medium business - Coles Nurture Fund

Coles is allocating $10m per year in grants and interest free loans to encourage small business to develop market leading products, technologies, systems and processes. Available to businesses that employ no more than 50 FTE with a turnover of less than $25m, this fund could be the difference in getting great ideas up and running.

 For all the details on this, visit the Coles Nurture Fund Guidelines.

Community Grants

Start up Finance Package for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs

An initiative of Indigenous Business Australia, this package makes it easier to get your business idea off the ground. You can access up to 30% of a new business loan as a grant to purchase assets for your business which you will not have to repay. Additional support is also provided. For more details or to apply call 1800 107 107 or see the details on the Indigenous Business Australia site.

Sustainability Grants

Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund

A $2m grant and investment facilitation program designed to support the installation of new or upgrades to existing waste to energy facilities or technology. With a particular emphasis on food waste from commercial and industrial businesses this grant is suitable for those that are able to have a project commissioned by 31 December 2019.

 For full details visit Sustainability Victoria.

Energy Assessment Grants

Boost productivity by reducing energy costs. These grants can provide either basic or detailed energy assessments from experts and are available to small to medium businesses - those employing less than 200 fte who spend over $20k on energy bills. Applications close 28 September 2018 unless funds are fully allocated before this date.

 For full details visit Sustainability Victoria .

Social Impact Investment for Sustainability Program

The Victorian Government is supporting investment-ready social enterprises to create new jobs and training opportunities, respond to climate change, avoid and recover waste and improve resource efficiency in the Victorian community.

The program provides a combination of grant and low interest loan. Investment-ready social enterprises can apply for up to $200,000 as a combination grant and low interest (2.5%) loan to scale up (expand) their operations.

Visit Sustainability Victoria for all details including application process, 

Energy Efficient Grants

Sustainability Victoria is calling for expressions of interest (EOI) from industry associations, business networks and registered training organisations (RTOs) wanting to apply for a grant to fund a project that builds the energy efficiency capability of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) or service providers. Projects need to deliver outcomes of big impact and long lasting change.

Visit Sustainability Victoria for all details including the application process.

Other Grant Opportunities

Find a grant for your business on the Business Victoria portal or with the Federal Government's grant finder there are hundreds of grants available for businesses to take advantage of.

Further Information:
Business Development
Ph: 8470 8344

Advice and support to help run a sustainable business

Green Business Networking Events

Join us for our 2020 Building Business Resilience through Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Green Business Networking event on 3 December from 2-4 pm. At this event you will hear from local businesses, 3 Ravens, Charles Sandford & McKay Joinery and CERES Fair Food , all of whom are building their business resilience by saving money through reducing their energy use and bills.  You will also hear from Jon Fettes of Regenerate Engineering who will talk about how you can take advantage of the opportunities to purchase renewable energy and offsets to move your business towards zero carbon. 

Register for this FREE event here

The Green Business Network meets bi-annually. At least one of these events is held within a local business that showcases their sustainable actions and initiatives. It is a chance to network, share ideas, inspiration and resources.  Sign up for our Business ENews monthly newsletter to keep informed about future events and details.

CERES Fair Food hosted our last Green Business networking event in November 2019. If you missed this event, don't worry, you can find out about some of the great sustainability actions CERES Fair Food and Fair Wood have been undertaking by watching this great video.

Light$mart - Free LED lighting upgrades for Darebin businesses and organisations (conditions apply)

All businesses in Darebin are now able to apply for our Light$mart program, which offers a free or subsidised LED lighting upgrade to local businesses and organisations (conditions apply). So far over 250 Darebin businesses/organisations have been upgraded through this program, saving an average of $420 a year on their electricity bills.

To find out more and register your interest please email and put 'Light$mart' in your subject heading.

Sustainability Matters 2020 – now a series of online webinars

Watch our 2020 Sustainability Matters webinars here.  We have webinars on Solar and Energy Efficiency, Reducing Waste and the Circular Economy

Sustainability Matters brings the stories of local businesses taking the lead in sustainability to other businesses, residents and interested community members. Through them you will hear about local businesses adopting green practices and cutting their costs, whilst reducing their carbon footprint, waste and often growing their business.  Within these webinars you will hear from local businesses A Little Light, CERES Fair Food & Fair Wood, Charles Sandford & McKay Joinery, EnviroShop, Exquisine, Integrated Recycling, Moon Rabbit, Show Works, Suntory (formerly Mocopan), Terra Madre and The Northcote Bakeshop.  These webinars also include the work of local artists Maria Coviello and Bec James and live sketching from Mathew Magain of Sketch Group.

Our Sustainability Matters webinars were proudly sponsored by the Victorian State Government in 2020.

If you would like to be kept informed about future Sustainability Matters and Sustainable Business events sign up to our Business ENews monthly newsletter

To view the individual stories of speakers and panel members from this year and previous years go to our Sustainable Business Playlist on the CityofDarebin YouTube page.

Local Sustainability Business Leaders

Many businesses in Darebin are taking a lead in terms of environmental sustainability. Be inspired and learn more about they are taking incremental steps to reduce their impact on the environment, reduce their carbon emissions whilst gaining local support in the process, through viewing these 10 Sustainable Business Leader videos.

1. A Little Light

2. CERES Fair Food & CERES Fair Wood

3. Charles Sandford & McKay Joinery

4. Exquisine

5. Fairfield Phyisotherapy

6. Moon Rabbit

7. Shiny Embroidery

8. Show Works

9. Terra Madre

10. The Northcote Bakeshop


Business Recycling Bins

We offer a fortnightly Business Recycling Service for a one-off fee of $96.00 per 240 litre bin, with a maximum of two bins available. All items recyclable in the Darebin residential recycling bins are accepted. To find out what you can put in your business recycling bin go to What can go in my recycling bin?.

To order your business recycling bin(s) go to

Business Organic Waste Recycling

There are a number of options available to Darebin businesses for recycling organic waste; some of these are outlined here. Options include: recycling your organic waste via on-site worm farms, participating in a range of community schemes like sharewaste in which local residents and customers may come and collect some or all of your organic waste and setting up an organic waste collection service with a private contractor.

For local cafes you might be interested in participating in our Cafe to Garden program that links you to customers and residents that will pick up your coffee grounds.  We currently have 13 local cafes participating in this program, to find out who they are go to

If you are interested in starting to recycle your organics, or if you are already doing it and we don't know, drop us a line at

The Circular Economy and Sustainable Purchasing

More and more businesses are making the shift from a Take -> Make -> Waste model to the Borrow -> Use -> Return -> model of the circular economy.  Watch our short video or longer webinar on what some Darebin businesses are doing in this space. 

Participating in the Circular Economy requires us to be purchasing products that are made from reused and recycled materials.  Sustainability Victoria has released their Buy Recycled Directory to make it easier to make purchasing decisions that support the circular economy.

Business Darebin Solar Bulk Buy Program


Take advantage of great prices, good quality products and installers by participating our Darebin Solar Bulk Buy program to put solar on your rooftop. Register your interest in the Solar Bulk Buy program at

Environmental Upgrade Agreements for Darebin businesses

For businesses interested in installing large solar system or undertaking energy efficiency upgrades, we can help you to source funding to achieve this through an Environmental Upgrade Agreement.  Watch this short video to find out more about what an Environmental Upgrade Agreement is and how it works. Register your interest in an Environmental Upgrade at


Sustainable Leaders in Manufacturing - Building Business Resilience by reducing costs

Join our SLIM (Sustainable Leaders in Manufacturing) program by emailing us at

We are working with over 30 local manufacturers to help them reduce their energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions and waste. Through their participation in SLIM all these businesses have saved thousands of dollars through making changes to help their businesses be more environmentally sustainable.

All our SLIM businesses have installed LED lighting, many have installed solar, some have formed industrial ecology business partnerships to turn their waste into a resource for others, and all have reduced their waste going to landfill.

We are also looking for businesses interested in accessing a highly subsidised Energy & Materials solutions assessment. If you are a local manufacturer and are interested in getting support to save money and reduce your energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions and waste and interested in connecting with other sustainable leaders in manufacturing email or call 8470 8550.

Free timers for non-perishable drinks fridges

If you have fridges that contain non-perishable items, you could be saving between $400 - $500 a year by switching them off when your business is closed. We are offering food and beverage businesses free fridge timers as part of our Darebin Fridge Timer Program to reduce electricity consumption.

To request a timer for your business email call 8470 8888.

Free bike racks for customer parking

Council is committed to encouraging green travel and will install a free bicycle parking hoop as part of our Bicycle Racks for Businesses program outside eligible local businesses.

To find out if your business meets the eligibility criteria for safety and accessibility please complete our online form and a transport officer will contact you.

Green Business Directory

If your business sells ‘green’ products or services, or is actively working to reduce energy consumption, water usage and waste you may be eligible to be listed on our Green Business Directory.

Over 220 businesses, including cafes, accountants, retail shops, osteopaths, mechanics, solar power installers, manufacturers and more are listed on the Darebin Green Business Directory. These businesses are working to operate more sustainably and/or offering ‘green’ products and services that help reduce environmental impact.  Why not think about doing business with them!

To find out more email or call 8470 8888.

"We are Greening our Business" stickers and certificates

Does your business/organisation have solar, or are you recycling and working to reduce energy consumption, water usage and waste? If so, do you have your ‘We are Greening our Business’ sticker and are you listed and promoted in our Darebin Green Business Directory?

The ‘We are Greening our Business’ stickers and certificates have been developed to:

- recognise, celebrate and make visible to your customers, staff and supply chain the effort you are making to reduce your environmental impact, and

- help you identify further sustainability actions your business can take.

If you have taken action to reduce your environmental footprint and would like to participate in the program, email or call 8470 8888.  To find out which businesses in Darebin have a 'We are Greening our Business' sticker go to our Darebin Green Business Directory.

VIC Bag Ban

Lightweight plastic shopping bags are now banned in Victoria.  This ban was brought in by the Victorian State Government in November 2019. For details regarding the type of bags that are banned and those that are allowed go to or call 1800 817 723. 

We can all make small changes within our business to reduce waste and our use of single use plastics. For retail, cafes, restaurants and food vendors alike, educating our customers and clients on the use of sustainable programs including Boomerang Bags , Retub, Trashless Takeaway and Responsible Cafes is a great place to start.


Remember though, food businesses have legal responsibilities to ensure all food is safe to consume. This includes ensuring that food is served in containers that are fit for purpose and have been cleaned and sanitised. To find out more, go to our Food Safety webpage, or watch our video on Cleanliness.


Other places to go for help on your sustainability journey

You can get support from other local businesses and find out about a range of sustainable business programs on the Darebin Business Zero Waste Network Facebook Group.

The following websites also offer some great tips and resources: 

The following books are also inspirational and great reads:

The following movies are also inspirational and if you are interested in sustainability great films to view:

Further information:
Sustainable Business Officer
Phone: 8470 8550

Darebin has a thriving economy based on a diverse range of new and long-established businesses.

We are home to a multitude of ‘micro businesses’ as well as unique and significant retail hubs such as the iconic Preston Market and the rapidly expanding Northland Shopping Centre.

Add to the mix an innovative manufacturing culture and the main campuses of two renowned Higher Educational institutions – La Trobe University and NMIT – and you have a vibrant, healthy business and economic climate.   

Council has developed profiles on its economy and employment that include detailed analyses of the Darebin economy, industry sectors and labour force.
Business Development Strategies 
These are the strategies that form and underpin our work, especially in relation to marketing, employment and skills, business and industry development, business support, and environmental sustainability.
Further Information 

Business Development

Ph: 8470 8344


Find industry contacts, employment programs and services, education and training, business associations, and other business resources.

Business Associations in Darebin
Association President Business and Address Phone Email
Northcote Business
Shelley Anderson The Phoenix and The Turtle
268 High St, Northcote
9489 9399 Email
Fairfield Village Business 


Biviano & Sons
98-100 Station St, Fairfield

9489 0087 Email
Reservoir Village Business 
Michael Love Love Real Estate
307 Spring St, Reservoir
9460 6511  Email
Preston Business Advisory 
Managed by Darebin City Council 8470 8418  Email

Business Associations work with businesses and Council to ensure the ongoing success of their local areas. The Business Associations range from formal, incorporated organisations that meet regularly, to casual groups of business owners who meet only occasionally. The following associations are located in Darebin:

  • Preston Business Advisory Committee
  • Reservoir Village Business Association
  • Northcote Business Association
  • Fairfield Village Business Association

All Business Associations and Advisory Committees in Darebin are listed on the Darebin Business Directory. Guidelines for Business Associations can be found here.

Special Rates & Charges

What is a special rate or charge?
A special rate or charge is an annual fee paid by business properties that is pooled into a central fund and is spent on encouraging commerce and retail activity in that area. A special rate is a rate raised in addition to the general rates and charges under the provisions of section 163 of the Local Government 1989. It is a property-related debt, the same as a general rate. Councils are able to levy a special rate or charge on property owners to help pay for any council service or activity that will be of special benefit to those particular property owners. In this case the levy is raised to pay for marketing and promotion of a business precinct. Council currently has several special rate schemes in place to raise funds to support local shopping centres in Reservoir, Northcote, Preston and Fairfield.

Public notice and consultation
By law, before finalising a special rate or charge, the council must undertake formal public consultation. Councils will often ask the community for comment before proposing the rate or charge, although this is not mandatory. People have the right to put in a formal submission before the council finalises a special rate or charge. Council is required to consider all submissions that are received within 28 days of the public notice. If council is proposing to raise more than two-thirds of the total cost of a project as a special rate or charge, the affected ratepayers must also be given a formal right to object. If objections are received from a majority of properties within 28 days, the council cannot approve the special rate or charge. Under certain conditions, people who are required to pay a special rate or special charge may appeal to the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

Intention to Declare special rates & charges
Please see below the public notices and proposed precinct boundary maps

Special Rates or Charge Scheme - Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to pay a special rate?
The property owner is liable to pay. However, some landlords have leasing arrangements that defer the special rate or charge to the tenant. If you are leasing and unsure, please check your leasing arrangement or contact your landlord to find out who is liable for the special rate or charge.  Special rates to cover marketing and promotional activities apply to commercial properties within the special rate areas in each of the following shopping precincts:

How much do I pay?
The basis for calculation is the declared special rate or charge in the dollar (different to the general rate) by the Capital Improved Value (CIV) of the property, unless a minimum or maximum cap applies. The benefit levels, maximums and minimums vary between schemes.

Will there be a separate account sent?
No. The special rates will be included on your annual rates notice. You can pay the rates and special rates either in four instalments or in full by 15 February.

How long does the current special rate or charge last?
The current declared special rate or charge scheme is effective from:

  • Reservoir Business Precinct: 2017-2022
  • Preston, Northcote and Fairfield Business Precincts from 1 July 2014 until 30 June 2019.

At a meeting on 18 March 2019, Council resolved to give notice of its intention to declare a new special rate on properties in the Northcote and Fairfield Business precincts to extend the special rate scheme for a further 5 years. The special rate scheme for the Preston Central Precinct business precinct expires on 30 June 2019.

Which properties are included in the special rate or charge scheme?
The following geographic maps provide the details of which commercial properties are included in the special rate schemes for each of the Business precincts concerned:

Who manages the funds collected?
Council monitors the expenditure and ensures that the funds are only spent in accordance with the special rate Levy agreement as stipulated by the Local Government Act 1989. 100% of the funds collected are directed towards:

  • Marketing events, advertising and social media
  • Promotional materials
  • Engaging a centre/events coordinator
  • Improving centre décor and displays
  • Enhancing the appearance of the centre to attract more customers

How can I be involved in the decision making of how the funds are spent?
Business Association committees welcome new members to be involved and to assist in the development of a 5 year strategic marketing plan. For more information please contact the Centre Manger of your shopping centre precinct:

  • Reservoir, Preston & Northcote: Penny Jamieson, 0417 580 009
  • Fairfield: Heidi Crundwell, 0417 580 009

Guidelines for Business Associations (September 2015)
The guidelines for Business Associations are designed to assist in the development of Business Associations that are sustainable and highly functioning and to promote practices that enable a co-operative approach to their management, promotion and marketing. It will also encourage best practice for new and existing Business Associations in Darebin. For more details download the Darebin City Council Guidelines for Business Associations (September 2015). For further information contact the City of Darebin Economic Development team on 8470 8888.

Good Access is Good Business
In Darebin, an estimated 20 per cent of residents identify as having a disability or caring for a person with a disability. The ‘Good Access is Good Business’ program aims to help businesses understand how to reach out to all of our residents by improving access for people with a disability.

Further Information
Ph: 8470 8344

The Business Connection is Darebin's Business newsletter aimed at providing 'news that business can use'.

Welcome to The Business Connection!

This newsletter has been designed specifically for the business community of Darebin, we hope you find it an interesting and insightful read. 

To submit your idea for future editions or to request a hard copy of the newsletter please contact Business Development on 8470 8344 or email

Previous editions:
Issue One

Issue Two

Issue Three

Issue Four

Issue Five

Issue Six

Issue Seven

Issue Eight

Issue Nine

Free public WiFi is now available in our major shopping strips. Next time you’re out and about you will be able to browse social media, webpages, search for local businesses and read your emails.

Free Wi-Fi is now fully operational in the following shopping centres:

  • High Street, Preston
  • Station Street, Fairfield
  • Broadway, Reservoir
  • High Street, Northcote and Westgarth
  • Edwardes Street, Reservoir
  • Spring Street, Reservoir

For more detail on coverage areas please see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

How do I access the Free Wi-Fi service?

  • Turn on Wi-Fi
  • Select “Free Darebin Wi-Fi” (in Preston, Fairfield and Reservoir) or “Darebin Free Wi-Fi” (in Northcote and Westgarth) and connect
  • Click on your internet browser from your menu page and select “sign in to Wi-Fi” when prompted
  • Accept the terms and conditions
  • Enjoy free Wi-Fi!


If you have problems accessing the service and need help, there are service technicians available, at or by calling:

  • Ph: 1300 161 344 for Preston, Reservoir, Fairfield (please quote enquiry code 3004)
  • Ph: 1300 135 249 for Northcote and Westgarth

This free Wi-Fi service has been made available to you by Darebin City Council with the assistance of business owners and operators in the coverage areas and with the assistance of our industry partners Infrastructure Logic and Easyweb Digital.

Opportunities for Business

Businesses in all coverage areas are able to list and promote their businesses on a marketing portal.  To initiate this, follow the prompts once you log on to the Free Darebin WiFi, scrolling down to "Register your Business" on the front screen.   

If you would like to know how you can use the services to market your business products and services, please contact us.

Business Development

Ph: 8470 8344