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Advisory Group to transform Greater Sydney into 24-hour economy centre

Advisory Group to transform Greater Sydney into 24-hour economy centre
October 2, 2021

Following the release last year of the NSW Government’s 24-Hour Economy Strategy, Commissioner Michael Rodrigues is confident that the established 40 member 24-Hour Economy Advisory Group - drawn from the hospitality and entertainment sectors - is up to the task of transforming Greater Sydney into a 24-hour economy centre that is vibrant, diverse, inclusive and safe.

While Sydney has long been recognised globally as a world-class cultural and entertainment hub, Sydneysiders have been moaning about the city’s night-life for years but that could all be about to change with COVID having presented the NSW Government with opportunities to re-think ways in which to engage with the City including:

  • extend the economic vibrancy of the day into the night
  • support our most affected sectors through a strategy for growth
  • collaborate with industry and local government to awaken hubs of community activity and entertainment across Greater Sydney.

Building a vibrant and strong 24-hour economy will need to be a collaborative and coordinated effort between the NSW Government, local councils, industry and communities.

The Strategy comprises five strategic pillars, each of which address a distinct opportunity area in Greater Sydney’s 24-hour economy:

  • Provide more integrated planning and place-making which will see increased state and local government and industry collaboration to build an environment in which the 24-hour economy can thrive
  • Encourage the diversification of night-time activities by supporting a wider variety of businesses at night
  • Support industry and cultural development to help businesses and cultural entrepreneurs access and thrive in the 24-hour economy
  • Explore ways to enhance mobility and improve connectivity between 24-hour hubs through safe and reliable transport
  • Change the narrative for Sydney to bring locals and outside visitors into Sydney at night, observing and encouraging healthy behaviours.

Recommendations also include a pilot program to transform some footpaths and roadside parking spots into outdoor dining areas, art installations or mini-parks, while encouraging more lighting of buildings and recreational zones.

The Committee for Sydney, part of an Industry Advisory Group that has worked with NSW Government to develop the strategy, says a number of its recommendations were taken on board.

Gabriel Metcalf, Chief Executive of the Committee for Sydney (a research and advocacy organisation that works with leaders across Sydney to solve the most important problems facing the city) advised that the strategy would help support many night-time sectors decimated by the pandemic.

Metcalf noted “we know that bars, restaurants, retailers and cultural institutions have been hit hard in 2020. This strategy is part of how we help them bounce back.

“It is one of the most detailed and comprehensive night-life plans ever compiled for a city and a blueprint to regenerate Sydney’s 24-hour economy as the city recovers from COVID.”

“Sydney is one of the most liveable cities in the world. It is now time for us to become a 24-hour city. While our night-time offer is great in many places, we should aspire to much more.”

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the plan would make Sydney the best place to live and work as well as setting the State up for dynamic recovery following COVID-19.

Treasurer Perrottet advised “there is no denying Sydney is one of the best cities in the world, but we need to continue to do everything we can to ensure the jewel in our crown continues to shine both day and night.

“This strategy aims to drive investment, create jobs and attract more businesses to the CBD and surrounding suburbs, laying the groundwork for our State’s economic recovery so we can keep more businesses in business and people in jobs.”

The 24-Hour Economy Advisory Group will work closely with the Office of the 24-Hour Economy Commissioner and other NSW Government stakeholders to support the delivery of the 24-Hour Economy Strategy, and a range of other workstreams and initiatives. It will provide a platform for stakeholders to submit ideas and feedback, based on the views and experiences of their communities.

Rodrigues is confident the 40 members of the 24-Hour Economy Advisory Group, drawn from the hospitality and entertainment sectors, are up to the task of enticing residents to leave their homes.

The group includes high-level representatives from hospitality associations and businesses such as Justin Hemmes’ Merivale, The Star, festivals, venues, local governments and the music industry.

As reported in the SMH, Rodrigues notes “they represent the absolute best of the sector.[It’s] our own Justice League dedicated to bringing fun and enjoyment back to our communities and supporting businesses and staff who have had an incredibly difficult 18 months.”

NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres has tasked them with laying the groundwork for Sydney to become “a truly 24-hour city”.

One of their first major tasks is to encourage people to get out and about after the lockdown ends, following nearly two years of restrictions that have reshaped people’s behaviour and habits. It will also focus on diversifying Sydney’s nightlife beyond what Rodrigues has called an Anglo-Saxon drinking culture.

“I’m a big fan of the pub, and can’t wait to grab a beer at my local, but we also need attractions that don’t necessarily revolve around alcohol, be they night markets, live performance or retail,” he said.

Also talking to SMH, Justine Baker, Chief Executive of the Night Time Industries Association and a member of the group, said it was important nightlife was not limited to inner-city Sydney adding “NSW should have booming night-time economies in all areas.The city will always be a big drawcard for major events and a different experience from the local night out [but] we should be looking at activating the night-time economy across the state.”

Access the 24-Hour Economy Strategy here

Related Articles

31st March 2021 - Sydney’s new planning rules aim to revitalise $4 billion night-time economy

29th January 2021 - Advisory Committee tasked with reinvigorating Melbourne’s night-time economy

23rd October 2020 - City of Sydney seeks feedback on proposed future night-time and cultural life

7th September 2020 - Night Time Industries Association launches new campaign aimed at younger patrons

16th July 2020 - City of Sydney continues to invest in night-time economy

27th August 2019 - Kings Cross night club repurposed as multi-level arts hub, Fringe HQ 

29th November 2019 - NSW Government to scrap Sydney lockout laws from 2020

21st November 2018 - Sydney’s lack of nightlife undermines its ‘extraordinary cultural assets’

21st March 2018 - Business group reveals plan to develop Sydney’s night-time economy


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