Richmond Valley Council, Casino.
Richmond Valley Council, Casino. Jasmine Burke

Opening a new cafe, restaurant or bar just got easier

OPENING your own small business on the Northern Rivers is about to become easier with a new program that aims to streamline the process.

Richmond Valley councillors agreed at a meeting last night to sign up to an agreement with Service NSW to deliver the Easy to Do initiative across the region.

With the Easy to Do business program, all that's needed is a single form and the time it takes to open a business will be 90 days or less, rather than 18 months.

The program was started by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Service NSW and the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner to encourage investment in small business.

The initiative focuses on coordinating and navigating customers through the various government approvals required by a new business owner.

The process typically requires an owner to deal with 13 agencies and to complete 48 forms.

The business sector focus of the program is currently the cafe, restaurant and bar sector, but it is expected the program will expand to include housing construction, clothing retail, printing and road freight sectors in the future.

Under the program, Service NSW will provide a digital platform and upfront information regarding what is required by a potential new business owner from all of the approval authorities, including council, and includes a single digital form which replaces the 48 existing forms.

Service NSW will also provide a business concierge service, via a single phone number, to support customers through the process.

Richmond Valley Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald said the program focused on small businesses and had been piloted in a few areas.

"They are rolling it out across the state and the aim is it provides the opportunity for someone to go to Service NSW (who will) provide them with a streamline way of getting all the different approvals they require to start their business,” he said.

"(Service NSW) will open the door easily to council or other agencies they need to get approvals from.”

Mayor Robert Mustow said he thought the current system where potential business owners have to go through 13 agencies and complete 48 forms was "ridiculous” and he was "100 per cent in favour” of the program.

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