(Barnet Long Room, Customs House)
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 helping with our late night economy consultation, like this forum tonight.
Thank you all for coming this evening. Developing a night-time economy that balances the needs of everyone who uses the city at night requires input from all parts of the community. I appreciate you taking part tonight, as these areas need to be good places to live before they can host a successful and sustainable late night economy.
As well as tonight, we'll be holding four other community forums across Sydney. Anyone can attend by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
We're also holding focus groups and stakeholder forums with representatives from cultural institutions, retail, entertainment and licensed venues, as well as major event organisers.
We are holding a series of roundtable sessions with leaders from organisations such as the Sydney Business Chamber, the museums, the Australian Hotels Association and State Government departments.
We're conducting street interviews in eight locations, and a three-week online forum began on April 29 at SydneyYourSay.com.au.
We'll use the feedback from our consultation and the best available local and international research to develop a new night time city policy that will outline how the night time economy should function over the next 20 years.
The policy will also cover broader strategic issues for Sydney at night, including trading hours and planning.
We want to hear everyone's views - developing a late night economy policy is a big opportunity to get the balance right and start planning for the type of future we want. A thriving, safe and sophisticated night-time culture is part of Sydney's status as a global city.
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, party buses, walking tours, casinos, gyms, brothels, stock markets, night markets, supermarkets - to name just some.
To get the night time mix right, we need a choice of activities for people across a range of age-groups. People need to feel safe, and they need to feel that the city is easy to get around, and easy to leave when they want to head home.
We need infrastructure and transport to keep pace with the growth and changing needs and habits of residents and visitors to Sydney.
Improvements need to be made - this is our chance to work together to make Sydney the city it can and should be.
We have no preconceived ideas, we're looking for input from all of you, city residents, visitors and workers, to tell us what kind of city you want for the future.
We're aiming to produce a strategic document - the big picture, rather than specific issues like venue operating hours. We're looking to find new approaches to creating a lively night-time city that will balance residential amenity and will be safe for everyone.
There is no pre-written policy. We want to hear your views on how this can work.
As well as these consultations, we're doing research to make sure the final policy is guided by evidence. We're also looking at how many people use Sydney's night-time areas, what attracts them, what transport they use, and at the levels of economic diversity and the levels of anti-social behaviour.
The growth in small bars and the success of initiatives like the Australian Museum's Jurassic Lounge show us the night economy isn't necessarily at odds with urban city living - both dimensions of city life can be prosperous, lively and civilised.
So now I'd like to introduce Suzie Matthews, to give you an overview of the present situation.