October 1, 2019
Yesterday a NSW Parliament Select Committee published an important and very welcome report on Sydney’s Night Time Economy.
The document is well worth reading. It’s another important milestone in helping to rebuild Sydney’s 24-hour economy. A key recommendation is to remove the lock out laws for the CBD, while retaining them for Kings Cross. Removing the lock outs will allow patrons to enter venues after 1.30am, remove the ban on serving shots after midnight and permit venues to serve alcohol after 3.00am.
In addition, the Select Committee endorses the idea of a central co-ordinating figure to lead state government policy on the night-time economy, a key recommendation in our report, Sydney as a 24-hour Economy. It is crucial that this figure has the scope and power to develop and deliver a whole-of-government strategy, which includes transport, planning, arts and culture and local government. We will be working with state government to put the best structures in place.
We also welcome the report’s recommendation to improve late night public transport, including exploring the possibility of 24-hour public transport services on Friday and Saturday nights. Greater access to regular and safe public transport, in addition to the expansion of ride-sharing over the past five years, will give Sydneysiders greater confidence to go out and stay out into the night.
Finally, the report recognises that a vibrant night life is the creation of thousands of small business owners who take the risk to open bars, restaurants, cafes, and cultural venues. Government does not “deliver” night life but it can enable it. Therefore, the focus has to be on changing the regulations to encourage and support these businesses rather than trying to suppress them through bureaucratic harassment. The Select Committee indicates a commitment to move toward smarter regulation of the night-time economy, which works to solve problems when they occur while making it easier for these businesses to operate.
We commend the Select Committee for identifying practical ideas and solutions in a notoriously complex policy area. The Committee for Sydney has always been clear that there is no silver bullet to solve to many varied challenges facing the 24-hour economy across Greater Sydney. However, in addition to last year’s NSW Parliament Inquiry into the music and arts economy, today’s report makes a significant contribution to enhancing Sydney’s night-life.
Committee for Sydney