People Eating in Restaurant
A boost for cafes and restaurants, bigger Christmas events, pop-up attractions and new business support will turbo-charge the CBD’s recovery as workers and visitors return to Melbourne’s heart.

A $44 million package unveiled by the Andrews Labor Government and the City of Melbourne today will inject renewed life into the city as Victorians enjoy hard-won freedoms and look to celebrate in the city over summer.

The National Retail Association has welcomed this initiative, after months of advocacy to ensure that actions would be taken to bring people back into the CBD after lockdown to ensure it remains a vibrant area for retail.

The first initiatives from the $200 million jointly-funded Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund include a new Midweek Melbourne Money scheme, which follows the successful Melbourne Money program that generated $40 million in revenue for city cafes and restaurants in June and July.

From Monday, 15 November, diners will be enticed into the CBD with significant savings when they visit destinations like Flinders Lane between Monday and Thursday. This program aims to boost foot traffic on weekdays.

This time around, diners will be able to claim 30 per cent back on their bill when they spend between $50 and $500 in Melbourne’s cafes, restaurants and bars between Monday and Thursday.

More than 200,000 rebates will be up for grabs at restaurants, cafes and bars where meals are served across the City of Melbourne – including the CBD, Lygon Street, North Melbourne, Southbank, South Wharf and Docklands. More information on the Midweek Melbourne Money Scheme will be available on the City of Melbourne website soon.

A total of $10.4 million will go towards bolstering businesses, also including support for outdoor trading and dining through permit fee waivers and new infrastructure, and initiatives to boost the night-time economy.

An allocation of $15.7 million will bolster the city’s events calendar, with an expanded Christmas Festival starting two weeks earlier than usual – next Friday, 12 November .

New attractions include a Christmas Carnival at Birrarung Marr, floating art installations on the Yarra, a Christmas maze at Docklands, a Christmas night market at the Queen Victoria Market and augmented reality “Elfie Selfie” stations across the city.

The Christmas Festival will also see the return of family favourites including Santa’s Workshop at Federation Square and lighting projections on the Melbourne Town Hall, Hamer Hall and Chapter House Lane – plus thousands of street decorations and a 16-metre-tall Christmas tree at Fed Square.

Events businesses will be supported through grants, waivers of permit fees and charges, and sponsorships. On top of that, more than $14 million will be invested to enhance public areas, refreshing familiar places with pop-up libraries and creative spaces.

A further $3.6 million will provide city businesses with an enhanced Business Concierge service to provide greater support for new businesses and help existing city traders adapt to the post-COVID economy.

For more information on Midweek Melbourne Money, visit the City of Melbourne’s website. 

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