Planning for the future

Our vision for Sydney’s night-time economy

We’re a global city but we’ve lost half a million visitors a year since the lockouts began. It’s time for a new vision that opens our city to everyone at night.

Late-night trading

We’re a global city and it’s time to act like one. At the City of Sydney, we want to keep our city safe, open and welcoming for all types of people at all times of day.

What we’ve heard about Sydney’s night-time economy

Our communities have told us they want a vibrant night-time city where businesses big and small can flourish. Where it’s easy for small music venues and theatres to host performances and stay open later. And where you can have a weekend nightcap and there’s still a train running to take you home.

Our latest data shows almost 500,000 fewer people under the age of 35 visited the city in 2017 than in 2013 – the year before the lockout laws came into action.

The number of venues in Sydney dedicated to live music has halved. And we’ve lost 10% of our creative and performing arts businesses.

What we're proposing for our city's future

A recent parliamentary inquiry on Sydney’s night-time economy is an opportunity to consider more progressive options, remove the lockouts and bring in other measures that make global cities work.

Our submission to this inquiry calls on the state government to lift the liquor freeze, 1.30am lockout and 3am cease service provisions. Instead, we propose planning reforms to encourage a greater variety of licensed and non-licensed businesses and new regulations to manage clustering and trading hours of late night licensed venues. This will help keep our late-night areas safe for everyone.

We also call for 24-hour train and light rail services on the weekends.

We call on the state government to lift the liquor freeze, 1.30am lockout and 3am cease service provisions
We call on the state government to lift the liquor freeze, 1.30am lockout and 3am cease service provisions

These changes will make our city a more interesting and enticing place to spend time, with more options for things to do in the evenings.

We also want to make it possible for local businesses to apply for liquor licences and planning approvals in a single application – this will save huge amounts of time in the applications, review and consultation process.

A review of the fee structure for liquor licences will ensure non-alcohol focused businesses, such as restaurants and performance spaces, aren’t prevented from setting up shop. Removing the requirement for expensive ID scanners in venues in Kings Cross will also help.

And of course, we need to balance this with the needs of neighbouring businesses and residents. This includes providing clearer approaches to noise regulations.

The future of Sydney’s night-time economy

We support ideas to establish a NSW Government night-time economy office to develop and oversee a night-time economy strategy, with representatives from state and local government and industry groups. A nightlife business forum would support this work.

Our submission is not all about the city centre. There’s huge scope for developing smaller-scale creative facilities in night-time precincts and neighbourhood centres around inner Sydney. Our submission details ways we can make this happen.

Our submission will inform a report to Parliament on 30 September.

Published 26 July 2019, updated 30 July 2019

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