Council’s Extended Outdoor Dining Project has been made possible with support from the Victorian Government. To date, this program has added over 1,250 additional seats for cafes and restaurants.
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.
PARKLET. EXPRESSION OF INTEREST
Darebin Council is seeking expressions of interest from hospitality businesses who would like to install a “parklet” or a temporary outdoor space as part of the State Government’s outdoor dining and entertaining package. A parklet is where a car park space is repurposed to create a new area for outdoor dining.
Darebin has many hospitality businesses across the municipality, and we are keen to ensure that there is a good spread of innovative outdoor dining spaces across all of our suburbs.
If you would like to apply, you will need to provide us with:
- Permission from your neighbouring businesses (see the FAQ document here for an example letter)
- Public liability insurance which outlines the City of Darebin as an interested party
- Complete our online form which can be found here
We will also assist you to fast track any red line additional permit requirements.
See below for examples of parklets:
Important things to consider
- Parklets cannot be constructed in car park spaces that are subject to a clearway at any time of the day.
- Parklets cannot be constructed within 10 meters of an intersection or within 20 meters of an intersection with traffic signals.
- Parklets cannot be adjacent to a no-parking sign.
We’d like to see our new parklets and outdoor dining spaces be busy across the day, so our preference will be given to locations where the parklet can be used for the whole day – either by a business that’s open for both lunch and dinner or through a partnership – for example, a café that serves breakfast and lunch could share a parklet with a neighbouring restaurant that is only open for dinner.
We will strongly support the creation of new outdoor dining and entertaining in neighbourhoods that don’t currently have many outdoor dining opportunities.
If you have a great idea for an unconventional outdoor dining or entertaining space, write us a proposal and be sure to include the information as listed above.
We will assess each application and proposal 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.
If you are interested in applying for a parklet for your business, complete the application form here.
Businesses can also contact the Better Approvals team on 8470 8344 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
COVID safe plans required
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.
Frequently asked questions
Footpath Activities Policy and Trading Booklet
Example of Footpath Trading Floor Plan
Example of Footpath Trading Floor Plan (with red line)
Council’s Grants and Initiatives
RATES AND FEES
If your income has been impacted by the pandemic and you can’t pay your rates, you can:
- Set up a payment plan to help manage the payments
- Defer payment until 30 June 2021 with no interest
Rate amounts owing prior to the 28th February 2020 will continue to accrue interest. No interest will be charged on the 4th Instalment owing from 2019/2020. You will continue to receive your rate instalment notices during the year which will show you the balance owing. If you can make part payments at any time, please do so, as this will reduce what you owe in the future. Any amount can be paid.
For more information and to set up a payment plan, please contact Council on 8470 8888 or email email@example.com. If you wish to defer your payment until 30 June 2021, you don’t need to contact the Council.
Council resolved to waive Footpath Trading Permit fees for traders between the 1st March 2020 and 30th June 2021. A four-month refund has been processed and will be provided to all current permit holders in early May, with the renewal of 2020-21 permits to be sent in early July free of charge.
Businesses who have paid their 2020 Food Act or Public Health & Wellbeing Act Registrations will be credited a free registration 16-month registration, until April 2022. You will still need to apply to renew your registration via a new online portal, however, there will be no fees. Please ensure you have provided your email address to Council’s Health Protection Unit so we can activate your portal access later in 2020. For businesses requiring urgent financial assistance who wish to register their interest in a pro-rata refund of their current 2020 Food Act, or Public Health and Wellbeing Act registrations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then be in touch with more information on this process. Businesses that receive a refund will retain their registration until 30 June 2021.
To assist local businesses on their recovery journey, the Darebin Council offers FREE LED lighting upgrades.
Under the Council’s Business recovery Light$mart support program, the retrofit cost $500 or are free for Darebin businesses & organisations.
For retrofits over $500 (GST exclusive), the Council will rebate businesses (via a cheque) for the first $500 + 50% of the costs thereafter. In this case, the business needs to pay the amount upfront. The Council’s subsidy capped at $1,000.
All businesses in Darebin are now able to apply for our Light$mart program, which offers a free or subsidised LED lighting upgrade to local businesses and organisations. So far over 250 Darebin businesses/organisations have been upgraded through this program, saving an average of $420 a year on their electricity bills.
To find out more and register your interest please email email@example.com and put 'Light$mart' in your subject heading.
DAREBIN’S HEALTH AND WELLBEING PROGRAM
Throughout this program, the Darebin City Council provides local businesses with access to Converge International, a health and wellbeing portal. Supports available include:
- Free counselling sessions for business owners, employees and the 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 and Password: converge
You can call 1300 687 327 for more information or 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
LOVE LOCAL CAMPAIGN
To promote local shopping and drive foot traffic to Derabin’s businesses, the Council launched the Love Local campaign including an interactive Local Business Map.
This Business Map aims to help local shopper explore the shopping strips of the municipality and enhance the local economy.
To find more local customers, please, register your business to our interactive directory here.
To support local businesses on their economic recovery journey, the Council committed to the development of the Economic Recovery Unit. This unit is able to provide businesses with individual, timely and personalised support and face-to-face FREE consultations in:
- Finance and Accounting
- Business Growth and Development Strategy
- Marketing and Digital Promotion Strategy
- Multi-media and Digital Content
Local businesses can also request a FREE Business Health Check to have a clear understanding of the capabilities of their organisation.
For more information, please send an assistance request to firstname.lastname@example.org
To talk to someone in the business team, please call 8470 8344.
To ensure a seamless process of business permit applications and assist owners in changing the nature of their business the Council provides Business Concierge services as part of our Better Approvals Program.
Before you apply, you need to contact our concierge team who will provide the advice you need to apply for any permits. This includes Planning, Food, Health and Footpath Trading and others.
After you contact our team, the Concierge will arrange a pre-application meeting if necessary, to help you understand which business permits you may need.
To discuss your individual needs and receive support for the online application, please, email email@example.com or call us on 8470 8344
Click here to learn more about the Better Approvals Program.
EXPRESS BUSINESS HEALTH CHECK
To help businesses, identify issues early and prompt them to seek assistance, the Council developed an express Business Health Check.
As a business owner, it’s important to regularly review the financial status of your business, to make sure you’re on the right track.
Our simple business health check below can help you identify the early warning signs of a business is in trouble and prompt you can to act and seek help to manage your business through difficult times.
- Have you been stretching your payments outside of the regular payment period for a prolonged period of time?
- Have you been struggling to make timely payments for Super, BAS, loan and/or rental payments?
- Have you applied for loans, credit lines and/or credit cards in order to pay your business debts?
- Have you been taking minimal to low wages and/or putting personal funds into the business to maintain cashflow?
- Have you recently lost a significant customer or supplier?
- Have your forecast targets been set to a reasonable standard but consistently missed?
- Have you recently encountered an unanticipated issue that impacted your business? (for example, fire, water damage)
- Have you spent more time recently trying to manage your finances rather than running your business?
- Are your financial records not up to date or accurate?
If you answer ‘yes’ to more than 5 of the questions - Act Now! Nothing to Lose everything to gain:
Seek assistance from your accountant, financial advisor or business mentor as soon as possible.
Alternatively, contact the Business Recovery Team at Council and we may be able to advise you further. Deepesh Adeshara, Business Advisor, Deepesh.Adeshara@darebin.vic.gov.au or Nadira Shamid, Business Advisor, Nadira.Shamid@darebin.vic.gov.au
The five warning signs - your business is in trouble | Business Victoria
Business viability assessment tool | Australian Taxation Office (ato.gov.au)
ION GROUP MENTORING PROGRAM
The Darebin City Council has commissioned ION Group to facilitate up to two FREE one on one mentoring online sessions for any Darebin’s business and organisations. This program is focusing on:
- Business strategy adjustments in time of crisis
- Recovery roadmap development
- Growth potential for your business.
Places are limited. To book your first FREE one (1) hour session with the ION Group specialist, please contact Leigh Crocker, Manager: Business Advisory, on 0419 359 409 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note, the sessions are currently being held as online/video meetings.
BUSINESS RESILIENCE PROGRAM BY MELBOURNE INNOVATION CENTRE
Facilitated by Melbourne Innovation Centre, this program is specifically designed to assist small businesses recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19. Support includes free access to virtual mentoring, online workshops and resource.
For more information call 9490 1402 or email email@example.com.
Online workshops – coming up soon. Subscribe for the updates
Strategy & resilience
Finance & technology
Customers & marketing
Mental health & wellbeing
SMALL BUSINESS BUS BY SMALL BUSINESS VICTORIA
Operated by Small Business Victoria, the Small Business Bus visits Melbourne and regional Victoria as a 'travelling office on wheels'. The Victorian Government’s Small Business Bus delivers business advice in metropolitan, rural and regional locations, and showcases local capability and practical advice. The Small Business Bus is visiting all regions of Victoria in 2021. No bookings required. Head down to the announced location as per the Bus schedule here.
The nearest dates for Darebin are:
- 22/04/2021 – Fairfield, Front of Fairfield Library, 122 Station Street Fairfield 3078, 10am to 4pm
- 28/04/2021 – Preston, Preston Market, 2/30A Centre Way Preston 3072, 10am to 4pm
VCCI BUSINESS RECOVERY AND RESILIENCE MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
The Victorian Government is partnering with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to deliver a business mentoring program to help small businesses navigate the economic recovery.
Through this program, eligible business owners can receive up to four 2-hour mentoring sessions with an experienced professional who will help them make informed decisions about the future of their business.
The program offers tailored guidance on:
- Business recovery - to strengthen business recovery (cost reduction, debt and cash flow management)
- Market transformation - to understand how coronavirus (COVID-19) has triggered or accelerated market changes
- Digital literacy and engagement - to help businesses reach new customers and markets
- Market and supply chain diversification - to reduce exposure to supply chain risks
- Reskilling and retraining - to help businesses upskill their existing workforce
Find out what type of businesses can apply for the program.
Information on Business recovery and resilience mentoring in languages other than English.
Click here to make an application on the VCCI website. This program is open to businesses with 20 or fewer employees.
State and Federal Governments Grants and Initiatives
THE END OF JOBKEEPER
'When Jobkeeper ends: Employer rights and obligations' In March 2021, presented by Darebin Business with Victorian Chamber of Commerce responding to the topic covering; identifying which flexibilities will end; exploring how an employer may make changes to the workforce; and an overview of redundancy process. Watch the recording and access the presentation slides from this webinar to learn more.
FUNDING FOR BUSINESS EVENTS
The Business Events program provides delegates, including buyers and sellers, with financial support to attend and participate at exhibitions, conferences and conventions. The initiative will instil confidence back into the business events sector and encourage businesses to return to the event forum.
The Program will be administered by the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) and soon be open to expressions of interests for funding up to $25,000 with eligible events including conferences, exhibitions, workshops and seminars.
The grants can be used to fund venue hire, accommodation, transport and other event costs to spread the benefits across Victoria’s business events supply chain, with 50 per cent payable before the event commences to minimise any financial risk.
Applications will be open until 30 June 2021 for new event bookings to be held in Melbourne through to December 2022.
Expressions of interest will be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay in touch for more updates via Darebin's Business eNews here (select Business Update when subscribing).
SMALL BUSINESS DIGITAL ADAPTATION PROGRAM (has been extended)
The Small Business Digital Adaptation Program supports sole traders, micro-businesses and small businesses to access digital products, tools and training to help build digital capability in their day-to-day operations. Small business owners can access accounting software, tools to build or upgrade their websites and to improve online marketing and social media.
Businesses can trial digital products from a range of suppliers, who have partnered with the Victorian Government.
Businesses can use a new, approved product, upgrade an existing approved product, or re-subscribe to an approved product that expired more than 12 months ago.
Once businesses have bought and begun using an approved product or products, they can apply for a rebate of $1200 to give them 12 months’ access to the product/s. Businesses will need to pay ongoing costs after 12 months.
The program also offers free digital adaptation training and workshops to help businesses use online tools.
Read the information on this page, the program guidelines and frequently asked questions (FAQs) before you register.
See the Small Business Digital Adaptation Program in languages other than English.
Applications will remain open until funds are exhausted or until 11.59pm on 30 June 2021, whichever is earlier.
Click here to apply online.
CLICK FOR VIC AND VISIT VICTORIA
In response to COVID-19, Visit Victoria has launched Click for Vic, a new online platform to help support struggling businesses in both regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.
To register your business or product for free until June 30, 2021, visit the Visit Victoria Corporate Page.
WELLBEING AND MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT FOR VICTORIAN SMALL BUSINESSES
Through this program, Victorians dealing with the challenges of running a small business can get the mental health support they need to navigate through the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Current support under this program includes:
Find information on Wellbeing and Mental Health Support for Victorian Small Businesses in languages other than English.
Factsheet: Partners in Wellbeing helpline
Changes to QR Codes
From 27 March, all businesses using electronic record-keeping – such as a QR code system – MUST USE the Victorian Government Visitation API, a system that seamlessly integrates with the Victorian Government contact tracing system to help contact tracers respond to outbreaks even faster.
If you are a business owner and/or operator, please ask your QR code provider if they intend to comply. Alternatively, you can check if the QR code used by your business has already been connected to the Government’s API by visiting coronavirus.vic.gov.au/visitationAPI.
You also can switch to the free Victorian Government QR Code Service which is already connected to the Victorian Government contact tracing system, by visiting coronavirus.vic.gov.au/qrcode.
Businesses seeking more information can contact Business Victoria on 13 22 15.
Register to use the Victorian Government QR Code Service
Creating an account with the Victorian Government QR Code Service
Victorian Government Visitation API - connected third parties
Visitation API (for developers)
Record keeping for contact tracing