Alfresco fees easier to swallow

THE City of Perth has abolished alfresco fees for restauranteurs and publicans.

Perth councillor Reece Harley has been pushing for the fee to be dropped since 2015, but says he was met with “fierce resistance” from the council and senior staff.

Back then the annual alfresco fee was an average of $140/sqm, plus application charges. In 2017 council agreed to cut it to $40/sqm.

Mr Harley is currently suspended along with the rest of the council and lord mayor, and had to watch last week as the state government-appointed commissioners abolished the fee.

Commissioner Gaye McMath moved the motion to scrap it, saying they wanted to remove roadblocks to outdoor dining and support the struggling hospitality sector.

Commissioner Andrew Hammond agreed, and also moved that they look into an online-application system to further cut red tape.

Vincent uses an online system and has no fees, and Bayswater abolished alfresco fees in 2016.

Reflecting on the decision, Cr Harley congratulated the commissioners on their decision, and noted the old adage “first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you and then you win”.

He said “I’m overjoyed for city cafes and restaurants who benefit from this change…these guys are going to be literally thousands of dollars better off, and that’s a huge amount for a small cafe.

“Hopefully we see more of it; hopefully it will result in more alfresco areas in the city.”

by DAVID BELL

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