A NSW Government website

Public space is where we share our stories and values, and where we forge the ties that bind us. This summer, as we re-emerge and adapt, the NSW Government is supporting councils to activate local public spaces by running free, safe activations and events, creating more opportunities for people to connect.

As part of the NSW Government’s support for community events, the Department has amended the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP) to include an exempt development provision for temporary outdoor community events, for the duration of the Summer Fund program. Find out more about the amendment.

The Summer Fund brings The Festival of Place to people right across the state, as part of the NSW Government’s efforts to support community wellbeing and economic recovery in our local centres.

Summer Fund events will run until 18 April, so take a look at what might be happening near you!

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New Annual Art Markets, at Civic Park, City of Newcastle Council.
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Tamworth Regional Council’s Australia Day Concert brought 2,000 visitors to Bicentennial Park activating 7,000 sqm of public space.
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Eurobodalla’s Regeneration brought 264 people to Quota Park, activating 640sqm of public space.
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Phillip Lane Outdoor Dining Project, City of Parramatta, an outdoor dining experience.
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The Hills Shire Council’s Australia Day Street Activations activated 50sqm of public space across the LGA.
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Canterbury-Bankstown’s Lunar New Year Celebrations and Night Noodle Markets brought 1500 people to the Anzac Mall.
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Maitland’s Neon Lights brought 1000 visitors to the Maitland Regional Art Gallery and Maitland Library, activating 1550 sqm of public space.

Discover where we're investing in your community

Explore the map to discover where NSW Government is providing councils up to $10,000 to run free, safe activations and events, creating more opportunities for people to reconnect as we re-emerge and adapt.

About the program

The Department is providing NSW councils up to $10,000 to boost free, small-scale activations and events in public spaces in and around high streets in local centres. This funding needs to contribute to free activations or events that enliven local public spaces from summer until the end of the Easter holidays on 18 April 2021.

The goals of the Summer Fund program are to:

  • Support community wellbeing by giving people opportunities to safely return to public spaces
  • Enliven public spaces in high streets within local centres through small-scale activations or events, contributing to The Festival of Place
  • Boost foot traffic and dwell time in local centres during the day and night, to help revitalise the local economy
  • Support engagement or employment of creative workers, food and beverage operators and producers

The funding can go towards free activations and events like outdoor markets, creative lighting shows or projections, micro-festivals, open-air theatre, talks, street parties, lawn libraries, performing arts or street entertainment.

Regional councils are encouraged to contact their Regional Arts Development Office, as there may be an opportunity for a partnership that can leverage funding available under Create NSW’s Regional Music Micro-Festival program.

Download a Summer Fund fact sheet (PDF 943.9 KB) and the commonly asked questions (PDF 169.9 KB).


A program webinar was held on 7 December 2020 about Summer fund for councils December 2020:

Webinar: Summer fund for councils

Summer Night Walks

Tim Ross invites leading thinkers, artists, comedians, performers and public figures to take him on a 'Summer Night Walk' to a special place in their neighbourhoods. Watch the first episode.

Public Spaces Ideas Competition winners announced

We partnered with the Committee for Sydney to ask for your ideas about how to transform public space across Greater Sydney. With more than 500 entries, find all the winners here.