Night time fun set to resume in Sydney

The after dark culture of Sydney which was snuffed out by the lockout laws could be set to come to life again as the state government lays out a plan to reopen the city at night.

Sydney would have more accessible late night transport, longer opening hours and fewer restrictions on live music and performances as part of a night-time revival designed to develop the city’s 24-hour economy.

The state government will on Monday announce the long-awaited 24-Hour Economy Strategy — the latest step in unlocking the city’s cultural and economic potential around the clock.

As part of the strategy, a new Co-ordinator General will be tasked with bringing together councils, industry and government to cut red tape and regulation on the night-time economy.

Sydney is currently underdelivering on every measure that defines an “ideal night-time experience”, according to the review, with residents expecting greater safety, affordability and hygiene than is currently offered after dark.

The government has been encouraged to implement more choices for safe, late-night transport and longer hours for some businesses.

Live music and noise regulations are also up for review, while there will be a push to diversify what Sydneysiders can do after dark.

A co-ordinated strategy will result in a citywide map of night-time hot spots, identifying which areas are thriving, which need to be invigorated and any new areas that are beginning to emerge.

Recommendations from the 24-hour Economy Strategy 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.

Expanded night public transport is part of the plan. Picture: Gordon McComiskie
Expanded night public transport is part of the plan.

It also recommends a citywide night-time hub “certification program” to allow areas to promote their late-night credentials. The night-time economy has previously been valued at $16bn.

Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres said unlocking more of Sydney after dark was now even more important to recover from the pandemic recession.

“COVID-19 has hit the tourism, hospitality and the arts sectors hard,” he said.

“Sydneysiders deserve a global city that’s thriving 24 hours a day and the world wants a 24-hour Sydney.

The all-hours economy strategy was developed to revitalise Sydney’s night-life, following the axing of contentious lockout laws in the CBD.

The plan has been described as a comprehensive document to revive the $16 billion industry.
The plan has been described as a comprehensive document to revive the $16 billion industry.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the 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”.

Committee for Sydney chief executive Gabriel Metcalf said the strategy was “one of the most detailed and comprehensive night-life plans ever compiled”.

The Restaurant and Catering Industry Association said the blueprint would allow Sydneysiders to enjoy “a world-class dining culture extending to midnight and the early hours of the morning”.

The Australian Hotels ­Association also welcomed the review’s findings.

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