Night Time Policy Roundtable Luncheon

(Lord Mayor's Reception Room)

Hello, everyone, and welcome. I'd like first to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of this land.

Thank you all for coming to this round-table. Your presence here today is important because the development of a thriving, safe and civilised night-time economy in Sydney demands the co-operation of all of us - State and City government, the retail and liquor industries and the cultural industry.

Each of you has been carefully chosen for your role in Sydney's late-night culture and we want you to help us make our late-night Sydney the sort of place our residents and visitors want.

So what kind of late-night Sydney could we have?

A healthy and sophisticated night-time economy is an essential component of Sydney's status as a major global city.

Eight per cent of all economic growth in Australia occurs in the City of Sydney, and the night time economy is an important contributor to that. It will become increasingly important.

Obviously, a good part of that economy - almost 14 per cent - is related to food and drink.

But it is far broader: it includes cinemas, theatres, retail, cultural institutions, take-away food shops, taxis, live music and buskers, harbour cruises, party buses, walking tours, casinos, gyms brothels, stock markets, night markets, supermarkets - to name just some areas.

So Sydney's continuing success as a global city also involves getting the night-time city right. It means providing a choice of activities for people across a range of age-groups, and across the span of the evening.

It means ensuring people feel safe, that the city is easy to get around, and that it's easy to leave at the end of the night.

Today's forum asks us what we can do over the next 20 years to achieve these goals.

We've invited you here today as leaders in your areas.

We are asking you to oversee the consultation process, suggest how we might do that better and help us identify who else can be involved in making sure this is a success.

The questions we're asking include how we can ensure a diverse range of choices, and how do we ensure that all sectors of the night-time economy benefit each other?

How do we balance residential, economic and visitor growth through land-use planning and liquor legislation?

How do we better design our city for night and how do we ensure infrastructure and services like transport keep pace with growth?

How do we learn from truly great night-time cities, incorporating the best from them while retaining Sydney's unique identity?

Importantly, how do we plan for this inevitable growth? The various components of a Night-Time Economy are not random and unrelated. Economic growth must link into growth in infrastructure which must relate to the needs of business as well as of residents.

We all have a stake in making Sydney work as a night-time city, and it's vital that we get it right.

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

We have no preconceived ideas, we're looking for input from all of you, from the public, city visitors and workers to tell us the kind of city they want for the future.

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 ideas and approaches to make the city a lively and safe night-time destination for everyone.

These will help inform the infrastructure, services and regulations necessary to make the night-time economy tick, while ensuring a liveable environment for growing residential populations.

As well as this roundtable, we'll be holding five precinct forums with local residents; two focus groups; one more roundtable with key sector leaders; street interviews in eight locations and a three-week on-line forum which I will launch today.

We want our policy to be evidence-based, and have appointed Dr Phil Hadfield, the eminent British researcher into the international night-time economy, to review the literature on what works in global night-time economies.

We're also beginning a cost-benefit analysis of Sydney's late-night economy - the first to be undertaken in Australia.

And finally, we're compiling the findings of two big surveys into how many people use Sydney's night-time locations, what attracts them to these areas, transport usage, levels of economic diversity and levels of anti-social behaviour.

Sydney has enormous potential which we are only starting to realise. The boom in small bars and the success of initiatives like the Australian Museum's Jurassic Lounge show us the night economy can be prosperous, lively and civilised, and can work for businesses, residents, our cultural institutions and our visitors.

Clearly, there's a lot to cover today, so without further ado, I'd like to introduce Suzie Matthews, manager of the City's Late Night Economy to give you an overview of the present situation.