Late Night Policy Forum - Kings Cross

(Holiday Inn, Potts Point)

Hello, everyone, and welcome. I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land. I'd also like to welcome our speakers - Suzie Matthews, the City's manager, Late Night Economy, and Jo Kelly from our consultants Kathy Jones & Associates, who are working with on the developing a Night Time policy for the City.

Thank you all for coming to this evening. The development of a night-time economy which protects residential amenity is obviously a task which involves all sections of the community - residents as much as businesses.

So as well as this forum, we'll be holding another four community forums in different parts of Sydney and you can register to attend any of these by emailing nighttime@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

We're also holding three focus groups and one stakeholder forum with representatives of cultural, retail, entertainment and licensed venues, as well as major event organisers.

We'll also be holding a roundtable with leaders from organisations such as the Sydney Business Chamber, the museums, the Australian Hotels Association and State Government departments.

In addition, we'll be conducting street interviews in eight locations, and there's a three-week on-line forum which began on April 29 at www.sydneyyoursay.com

We'll use the feedback from our consultation and the best available local and international research to develop a new night time city policy which will outline a vision for how the night time economy should function over the next 20 years.

The policy is also focused on broader strategic issues for Sydney at night. Specific issues such as trading hours and planning will be explored as an outcome of the policy.

A thriving, safe, sophisticated and civilised night-time economy is part of Sydney's global city status.

A diverse night-time economy is more than restaurants and bars. It includes cinemas, theatres, retail, cultural institutions, take-away food shops, taxis, live music and buskers, harbour cruises, walking tours, casinos, gyms, stock markets, night markets, supermarkets - to name just some.

To get the night time city right, we must provide a choice of activities for people across a range of age-groups. We must ensure that people feel safe, and that the city is easy to get around, and easy to leave when people want to head for home.

It means ensuring that infrastructure and services like transport keep pace with growth and that its development is carefully managed.

We all know that improvements need to be made and this is our chance to work together on them to make Sydney the city it can and should be.

We're not starting from a preconceived position and we're looking for input from all of you, city residents, visitors and workers, to tell us the kind of city you want for the future.

There is no pre-written policy. Rather, we want to hear your views on how this can work, and it will be an extensive process.

We're aiming to produce a strategic document, not to cover specific issues such as venue operating hours. Rather, we're looking to find new approaches to creating a lively night-time city that will balance with the needs of residents, and will be safe for everyone.

As well as these consultations, we're conducting research to ensure that the final policy is guided by the evidence. We're also looking into how many people use Sydney's night-time areas, what attracts them there, what transport they use, and at the levels of economic diversity and levels of anti-social behaviour.

The boom in small bars and the success of initiatives like the Australian Museum's Jurassic Lounge show us the night economy isn't necessarily inimical to residential living - that it can be prosperous, lively and civilised.

So now I'd like to introduce Suzie Matthews, to give you an overview of the present situation.