New planning rules developed in response to the COVID-19 crisis will make it easier to set up and operate food trucks and dark kitchens.

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes issued the Environmental Planning and Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Takeaway Food and Beverages) Order 2020 on Thursday 2 April.

The new rules make it easier for operators to set up dark kitchens in any existing commercial kitchen.

“Right now, we can’t go out for dinner at our favourite restaurant, or grab a drink with friends at the local pub — and this has been devastating not only for customers, but more importantly, for the businesses themselves and their staff,” Mr Stokes said.

“That’s one of the reasons we’ve made it easier for people to set up and operate a dark kitchen in any existing commercial kitchen, providing they can abide by social distancing rules.

“These businesses could offer additional food delivery options for the increasing number of people working from home, or they could be used to produce greater quantities of meals for people in quarantine, or in medical, health or aged care facilities.”

Food trucks will be able to operate on any land at any time with landowner consent.

“This overrides regular development approval processes for food trucks that specify when and where they can operate,” said Finance and Small Business Minister Damien Tudehope.

“These are small but important changes that will provide flexibility during these challenging times.”

The move comes after Minister Stokes was handed the ability to override normal planning controls during the crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak on 24 March.

Image: TJ Dragotta  

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