Perth MLA John Carey says support for changes to City of Perth alfresco dining licenses ‘overwhelming’

Perth MLA John Carey is heading the Perth City Summit.
Perth MLA John Carey is heading the Perth City Summit.

PERTH MLA John Carey has flayed City of Perth council after their decision to keep alfresco dining fees for local restaurants.

Mr Carey told Guardian Express there was “overwhelming support” for change at a forum he held in West Perth last night.

“We had more than 60 small business representatives, property owners and residents at the forum, which is part of the Perth City Summit I am holding in August,” he said.

“A big part of their message was that red tape is a significant hurdle for activating the streets and bringing life into the city. The mining boom is over, we have vacancy rates double what they were during the global financial crisis, we have negative small business growth; we need to act now.

“We need to reduce red tape. One obvious way is to abolish al fresco dining fees; that removes a hurdle for business activating the streets.

“We did it in Vincent, other councils have done it, yet (City of Perth) voted it down. And now they’re scrambling by running an online survey,” he said.

Councillor Reece Harley recently moved an amendment to the City’s fees and charges to allow business owners to hold an alfresco dining license without paying for it.

“The policy says if you have more tables and chairs out front, we charge you more for it. It is effectively taxing activation of the street,” he said.

Cr Jim Adamos argued the fee was not a tax on activation.

“As a small business owner I was happy to pay… such a small amount,” he said.

Deputy Lord Mayor James Limnios supported the change but Cr Janet Davidson said she was against dropping the fees, and joined the Lord Mayor and others in voting to defeat the proposal.

The City is currently running “a comprehensive survey of stakeholders” including current alfresco permit holders, business, residents, city workers and visitors as to the current usage of alfresco dining areas within the City “and ideas to improve the provision of alfresco dining in the future”.

The survey is online at

Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi defended the City’s performance, and said the review of the Alfresco Dining Local Law was set in motion last November.

“Preliminary results from the survey (which began on June 1) indicate 41.7 per cent of businesses don’t believe the current cost of an alfresco dining area permit or license impacts their decision to apply for an alfresco dining license,” she said.

“In the context of the current economic climate, the State Government levies around $17 million from the City for the Perth Parking Levy each year. The April council meeting… approved a motion urging the State Government to freeze the State Parking Levy to avoid further significant negative impact on the City of Perth.

“In regard to City vibrancy, it must be acknowledged that while the City of Perth plays an important role in activating city streets, Perth is currently experiencing the effects of a macro economic downturn that has resulted in reduced patronage in the city, a force beyond the control of the City.

“The City of Perth does, and always will, strongly support stakeholder and community engagement to guide future planning to enhance, stimulate and activate City growth and vibrancy,” she said.

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