AMENDMENT VC193 - State of Emergency & Recovery Exemption for Outdoor Dining

On 21 October 2020 Amendment VC193 was Gazetted which amended all Planning Schemes across Victoria by introducing a new Clause 52.18 (State of Emergency Recovery Exemptions).

The purpose of the amendment is to temporarily remove planning controls relating to bars, cafes, restaurants and other food and drink premises through exemptions that enable increased outdoor dining to facilitate their reopening in accordance with new COVID-19 requirements.

The exemptions apply to existing uses approved prior to 21 October 2020 and override permit conditions that may restrict the operations of a premise which provides businesses the ability to adapt to the ‘new normal’ without first needing to amend their permit.

In addition, any Planning Scheme requirements relating to use of public space, temporary buildings and works (except within a Heritage Overlay) and car parking requirements are also exempt.

We note that expansion onto public land (footpath, parks etc) would still require local laws permits from Council. We hope that the Local Government sector follows the lead of the State Government and minimise any ‘red tape’ to help facilitate increased outdoor dining in public spaces.

We have already guided a number of our clients in meeting the new requirements and securing the relevant Local Law approvals to be able to use Council land.

Overall, this is a very positive step by the State Government which will assist Victoria’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the hospitality industry, that has been impacted so heavily. Early indications are that the changes have been positive – we now just need some consistently good weather to take advantage of the added opportunities!

Further information regarding the amendments can be found via the below link. If you or anyone you know is in the hospitality industry and would like further advice regarding the amendment and the operation of your business, please contact our office.

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