Night-time economy

Night-time economy

Open late for everyone

Our night-time economy focus emerged when we consulted with the community about making Sydney a sustainable city by 2030. People said they wanted better public transport and a more inviting cityscape. They also wanted different options for socialising, not just mainstream drinking venues. Hence we encourage small bars to open in under-used spaces.

Our goal is to provide clear direction for Sydney's after-hours economy over the next 20 years, balancing all the factors. The interests of everyone – local business owners, our increasing resident population and our highly expectant visitors – are being taken into account. Public safety is of course paramount.

Future plans

OPEN Sydney: Strategy and action plan 2013-2030 is the City’s vision for the long-term development of Sydney’s night-time economy. The strategy was endorsed by Council in February 2013.

A major part of the strategy’s development came out of extensive consultation with the local community. Stakeholders included residents, focus groups, representatives from the retail, liquor and entertainment sectors as well as key government leaders.

By 2030, the City hopes the night-time economy will be transformed away from a focus on younger people and drinking. It is hoped 40% of people using the City at night will be aged over 40 and that 40% of operating businesses at this time will be shops.

We're encouraging a larger variety of retailers and attractions to stay open late, to broaden people's choices of things to do after dark. Small businesses interested in opening later can attend free workshops to discuss ideas and register their comments.

Other plans include a 24-hour library with Wi-Fi facilities and 1 night every year where galleries and museums remain open late. The City hopes to double its night-time turnover to $30 billion and increase night-time employment by 25% to 100,000 jobs. The strategy is available for download below.

Liquor Act review

A licence permit system to sell and supply alcohol in NSW is one of numerous proposals the City of Sydney has made to the State Government's review of the Liquor Act 2007, which happens every 5 years to ensure the law is meeting community needs.

The City's submission to the review, available for download below, builds on our OPEN Sydney strategy that was developed after 2 years of research and consultation. The strategy aims to provide safer and more diverse entertainment options at night across the local area.

The proposals in our submission also build on our continuing work with the NSW Goverment to make the City's entertainment precincts safer, such as the Kings Cross Plan of Management. We want community safety and public health to be the main objectives of the Liquor Act, which controls the sale and supply of alcohol across the state.

Our key proposals to the Government's review include:

  • Liquor licence permits that would require reviews every 3 years, the same way driver's licences are issued periodically and venues could lose their licence for repeated breaches.
  • Local authorities should be able to declare areas saturated with licensed premises 'off-limits' to new licensed venues.
  • Late-trading premises should pay a levy to their local liquor accord to contribute to the costs of reducing the local impact of alcohol-related issues.
  • Licence conditions should include patron limits and venues should resume recording sales figures to help monitor alcohol consumption levels in certain areas.
  • Create a single licence for small bars to end confusion over the general hotel (small bar) licence and primary service authority categories.
  • Provide safe service training for staff working after 1am, include compulsory 'wind-down' hours after midnight and a 'mystery shopper' audit once a year.

Late night management area research

The research project collects information about Sydney's night-time economy across 8 late trading precints. The information includes pedestrian numbers, behaviour in the streets, business activity and people's motivations and intentions for visiting.

Research and reports

Below you will find the reports available for download that helped to form OPEN Sydney: Strategy and action plan 2013 to 2030.

Discussion paper: OPEN Sydney – Future directions for Sydney at night

A comprehensive report on what people told us they wanted, what the evidence says, and possible options for action.

The report pulled together the findings from the City’s research and consultation program and proposed directions for night-time Sydney.

Night-time City policy consultation report

The report documents the engagement process undertaken by the City with residents, vistors, government and business.

The report outlines key themes, a possible vision, as well as key points raised in the many forums undertaken with residents, retail, liquor and cultural sectors, visitors, government, academic and other key stakeholders.

Cost benefit analysis

This comprehensive analysis provides the sales turnover, employment figures, tax revenues, and patterns of growth in core businesses, such as entertainment, drink-led and food led venues, and non-core businesses of Sydney’s night-time economy.

Night-time economy: International evidence

Details the most effective approaches in night time economies according to the international literature.

This includes areas such as public health, responding to heavy episodic drinking, public realm profiling, licensing approaches, design and service interventions and developing sustainable and service based policies.

Further research

Australian night time economy 2009-2011

Night-time activity is an important and diverse part of Australia's economy.

Our cities aspire to provide well-managed, diverse, vibrant and safe environments that appeal to a wide cross-section of their communities.

This report examines the size and nature of the Australian night-time economy across local government areas of Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Greater Dandenong (Vic), Hobart, Maroondah City (Vic), Melbourne, Newcastle, Parramatta, Perth, Port Philip (Vic) and Sydney.


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Last updated: Thursday, 19 December 2013