Hawkers will enjoy two more years of subsidies for centralised dishwashing services, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor said.
The subsidies mean dishwashing costs for hawkers at existing hawker centres will be subsidised up to 50 per cent in the third year that the centralised dishwashing schemes have been in place.
The subsidies will go down to 30 per cent in the fourth year.
Three of Singapore's 114 existing hawker centres are in the centralised dishwashing subsidy programme: Marsiling Mall hawker centre, and the two hawker centres at Block 163, Bukit Merah Central and Block 628, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4.
Their stallholders currently get two years of subsidies for centralised dishwashing under the Productive Hawker Centre Grant.
Centralised dishwashing and automated tray return services have been in place at Marsiling Mall since December 2017, Bukit Merah Central since January last year and Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 since June last year.
"As part of our productivity efforts, we want to encourage existing hawker centres to adopt measures such as automated tray return stations integrated with centralised dishwashing services," Dr Khor said.
"At Block 163, Bukit Merah Central, hawkers and cleaners enjoy a reduced workload and 40 per cent reduction in water bills due to the productivity measures."
Centralised dishwashing and other productivity measures, she added, will help hawkers save on manpower and costs long-term.
More help is afoot for them.
A dialogue with some members of the Hawker Centre 3.0 Committee and others, including hawkers, had brought up suggestions including ground-up work groups to look at issues related to hawker trade and culture.
"We are therefore facilitating the formation of two work groups - one to explore ideas to attract and support new entrants to the hawker trade, and another to look at encouraging graciousness and tray return," Dr Khor said.
Both groups will comprise hawkers, food advocates and members from various fields.
The National Environment Agency intends to build 20 new hawker centres by 2027, seven of which have been completed so far.
A new Bukit Batok hawker centre will be co-located with an assisted living residential flats pilot in Bukit Batok Town, in the area bound by Bukit Batok West Avenues 6 and 9, and Bukit Batok Street 41, she said.
"When completed, this new hawker centre will provide an affordable food option to residents."