Helping Small Businesses Flourish (Latest GM Column 30 June 2018)

5 years ago | by

This week saw the launch of a partnership between Council and the NSW Government to help make it easier for anyone wanting to open a new local café, restaurant or small bar by simplifying 48 business application forms into one.

‘Easy to Do Business’ was started by the NSW Government to stimulate small business. It focuses on coordinating and navigating through the approvals required by a new business owner.

The previous process required new businesses to deal with 13 different agencies and to complete 48 forms. This has been replaced by the Service NSW digital platform –

This portal provides, in one place, the information a potential new business-owner previously had to find from all of the approval authorities and, most importantly, includes a single digital form to replace all the old forms. A business concierge service, via a single phone number, is also provided to support customers through the process.

To complement the new partnership, from tomorrow (Sunday, July 1), Council is also rolling out its ‘Trading Places’ scheme, which replaces the old rules and regulations for footpath use with a more flexible, common-sense approach.

Following a successful six-month trial in Coffs Harbour’s CBD, from tomorrow it will be available to retail and dining areas in all commercial zones within the Coffs Harbour City Council local government area.

The aim of ‘Trading Places’ is to create fun, welcoming spaces that attract customers. By making footpaths more colourful, lively, entertaining and interesting, the streets will become more vibrant so that people will want to stay to savour the atmosphere and be more likely to stop for a coffee or a meal, or spend more time shopping.

The ‘Trading Places’ initiative includes:

  • waiving fees for A-frame signs, stalls and displays, outdoor dining areas and streamlining approval processes;
  • giving traders more ‘ownership’ of their footpath spaces; and
  • simplifying footpath use in designated areas by local community groups and not-for-profit organisations, buskers and performers.

Obviously, the common sense approach also means that existing public safety and liability provisions required by legislation for public footpaths will have to be maintained, but businesses now have more freedom to use the space to attract customers.

To register online for ‘Trading Places’ and to find out more, go to

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