Melbourne buskers to get a free pass as city attracts musos back
04.10.2021

Melbourne buskers to get a free pass as city attracts musos back

Melbourne buskers

Melbourne buskers and businesses with outdoor dining will have their permit fees waived as City of Melbourne plan for reopening.

The City of Melbourne could accelerate the CBD’s bounce back by waiving Melbourne busker permit fees and supporting more than 1,000 businesses to extend their trading capacity through other fee waivers and infrastructure.

At Tuesday’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting, councillors will vote to waive permit fees for outdoor dining and busking for another five months. The council will also consider buying $1.1 million of dining parklet infrastructure, to be gifted to businesses.

Check out our series on Melbourne’s buskers here.

What you need to know

  • Melbourne buskers and businesses set to benefit from temporary permit fee waivers
  • The Melbourne council is seeking to bring atmosphere back to the city after lockdown
  • The changes are part of its ‘Inside Out’ plan, but they’ll only extend until March 31.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said eliminating permit fees will help more than 1,000 city business owners take advantage of the unique opportunity to trade outdoors.

“We know our extended outdoor dining program has been incredibly successful in helping business owners bounce back from previous lockdowns. It’s provided 18,000 additional restaurant seats and supported 100 new jobs,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We want to help traders serve as many customers as safely as possible and a move onto the streets and into outdoor dining parklets is one way we can do that.

“Removing permit fees will also encourage world-renowned Melbourne buskers back into the city, bringing our streets back to life with music and entertainment.”

If endorsed, permit fees for outdoor dining and busking will be waived until 31 March 2022. Permit fees were originally scheduled to be reintroduced in November.

The vote closely follows the announcement of Council’s Inside Out initiative that will see indoor retail trading, dining and entertainment flow out into Melbourne’s iconic streets and laneways.  The initiative is designed to support businesses bounce back when Victoria achieves a double-dose vaccination rate of 70 per cent.

City Activation portfolio lead, Councillor Roshena Campbell, said Council is listening to business owners, who have been calling for additional support.

“This extended sixth lockdown has brought many businesses to breaking point,” Cr Campbell said.

“As we open up it is critical our businesses can maximise trading and get back on their feet. By providing parklet infrastructure and fee discounts we want to give Melbourne businesses the chance to thrive again by saving them thousands of dollars in fees and costs.”

Councillors will also consider closing selected city laneways, including Crossley Street, Market Lane and Heffernan Lane, as part of the Inside Out initiative.

“We want to leverage Melbourne’s iconic laneways and turn them into thriving outdoor markets, with retail, food and entertainment offerings,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The Inside Out initiative will allow city business owners to reach more customers safely, while bringing the vibrancy back to our wonderful city.”

For more info, check out the City of Melbourne’s website.