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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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The global pandemic means it can be better to socialise outdoors and NSW has the perfect climate for outdoor dining, bringing life to our streets and public spaces.


The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has played an important role in the NSW Government’s rapid response to the pandemic. This has included streamlining planning approvals for outdoor dining across the State, to support local venues and rejuvenate the economy.


The department’s changes mean it’s now easier, faster and cheaper for businesses to provide outdoor dining. Existing pubs and small bars across the State now have the opportunity to use the footpath and public space outside their venues for eating and drinking until 31 October 2021. The changes reflect the exempt development measures already available to food and drink premises such as cafes and restaurants.


The proposed amendment does not automatically mean that venues can trade outside or on the footpath. Venues must seek council’s approval in line with the council’s outdoor dining policies and guidelines, other approvals are also needed under the Roads Act 1993, the Local Government Act 1993 and any changes to liquor licences issued under the Liquor Act 2007.


The department has also created an online platform on the planning portal that will allow councils to receive an online lodgement for outdoor dining.


Where can I find out more about participating in the trial?

The department has worked closely with other Government agencies to make the trial happen. More information for councils, businesses, and updates on councils and areas participating in the trial can be found on the NSW Government outdoor dining page.


Councils who would like to join the outdoor dining trial to streamline the application process should contact the Office of Local Government for advice and information. The Office of Local Government also have information and guidelines on their website for councils. If you’re a business owner interested in providing outdoor dining, please contact your local council for their requirements and assistance with the application process.


You can find out more about the department’s outdoor dining trials below.


Friends enjoying afternoon drinks at The Beach House Restaurant and Bar, Port Macquarie. Photo by: Destination NSW

Statewide NSW outdoor dining trials

Statewide NSW outdoor dining trial

The department has amended the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP) to allow outdoor dining as exempt development for small bars and pubs in all NSW local government areas.

Image credit: Destination NSW.

Read about the trial
George Street (copyright CoS): Artist Impression - George Street south pedestrianisation concept by City of Sydney

Outdoor dining trial for Sydney LGA

Outdoor dining trial for Sydney LGA

The 12-month trial of outdoor dining for Sydney Local Government Area is now underway, with the trial to end on 31 October 2021.

Image credit: City of Sydney

Read more about this pilot
Image of outdoor dining in The Rocks. Photo by Anna Kucera

Outdoor dining in The Rocks

Outdoor dining in The Rocks

The NSW Government has opened outdoor spaces outside approved food and drink venues for drinking and dining just in time for the summer months with a 12-month trial in The Rocks.

Find out more about the trial