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How to refresh your business with VIC’s $100m outdoor hospitality fund

The Victorian Government is backing unprecedented revitalisation works in Melbourne’s iconic laneways, creating scores of new jobs and ensuring the city will be at its best when crowds return to the heart of the capital.

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More than 150 people will be employed through the Working for Victoria initiative as part of the largest makeover of lanes seen in the CBD, North Melbourne and Carlton. Some 40 laneways will benefit from the special program.

The six-month project will provide a boost for workers in the creative industries, which have been among the hardest hit in the pandemic, with a call to go out for designers, music producers, light specialists, production designers and technicians, as well as maintenance workers

Confirmation of the revamp comes after the Government this week announced a $100 million fund to back CBD cafes, restaurants and bars to take their renowned hospitality offerings outdoors as Victoria moves steadily towards a COVID Normal and a new way of communing this summer.

“We’re revitalising some of Melbourne’s most compact but best-loved public spaces – what a great project and a terrific way to get people back to work,” said Minister for Employment Jaala Pulford.

“This will drive creativity and pride in our CBD laneways and create jobs for workers ranging from designers and lighting specialists to technicians and maintenance workers.”

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Tattersalls Lane, Heffernan Lane, Flinders Court, Healeys Lane and McKillop Street are among cherished CBD locations that will receive a major spruce-up and fresh sheen, improving public safety and supporting local businesses.

The first stretch to undergo revitalisation will be Westwood Lane alongside the Salvation Army’s Bourke Street headquarters, with the installation of creative lighting and art designed to improve amenity and increase foot traffic in the area. Raglan Street, Little Errol Street and Bakery Lane are among candidates for a makeover in North Melbourne, and Kelvin Place, Beard Place and Canada Lane in Carlton.

The City of Melbourne will also contribute resources towards the project which will create a network of laneways with their own stories, visuals and acoustic designs, shedding new light on some of the city’s lesser-known laneways. 

Since launching in April, the $500 million Working for Victoria initiative has created more than 10,000 jobs. For more information or to register for Working for Victoria, go to vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria.

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