A plan to revive Melbourne’s moribund city centre through tax relief, deregulation, commuter incentives and repurposing of vacant commercial buildings is being considered by the Victorian government ahead of the state budget expected on November 10.

Free train travel and coffee, suspension of payroll and fringe benefits tax, waiving of fees for new liquor licences and the transformation of office space into affordable housing and shared working spaces for start-ups, students and artists are among the measures proposed by a high-powered group of business and civic leaders.

Melbourne's Collins Street has been deserted for months.

Melbourne’s Collins Street has been deserted for months.Credit:Wayne Taylor

With Victoria recording only a handful of new COVID-19 cases in recent days, Premier Daniel Andrews has promised to announce today “significant” easing of Melbourne’s stage four restrictions but has dismayed the retail and hospitality sectors by ruling out any immediate steps towards the reopening of shops, cafes and bars.

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