Advocating for Sydney's Night Time Ecology

09/12/2019 - Advocating for Sydney's Night Time Ecology

Moved by Councillor Scully, seconded by Councillor Miller –

It is resolved that:

(A)        Council note:

(i)          on 28 November 2019 the NSW Government announced plans to wind back the regulations imposed under the Liquor Amendment Bill 2014, otherwise known as 'the lockout laws';

(ii)         these changes will include removal of the 1.30am last entry for all venues in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct, including Oxford Street, but not Kings Cross. These changes are scheduled to take effect from 14 January 2020;

(iii)        the lockout laws introduced in 2014 had a devastating impact on Sydney's night time ecology and local economy. The City of Sydney's latest data shows that almost 500,000 fewer people under the age of 35 visited the city in 2017 than in 2013 – the year before the lockout laws came into action and the number of venues in Sydney dedicated to live music has halved in this time;

(iv)       while lifting the lockout laws are a positive step toward recovering from this damage, there is further work and collaboration required as we move forward;

(v)         the Lord Mayor, City of Sydney staff and the Nightlife and Creative Advisory Panel, together with the community and members of the hospitality, entertainment and creative sectors, have consistently championed a sensible and evidence-based approach to nightlife regulation that would deliver a safe, diverse and thriving night time culture in Sydney; and

(vi)       in accordance with the City of Sydney's submission to the Joint Select Committee on Sydney's Night Time Economy and the Inquiry into the Music and Arts Economy in NSW, and the recommendations arising from each Inquiry, we must continue to advocate for the following improvements:

(a)        investment in public transport, including 24-hour train and light rail service on the weekends;

(b)        a streamlined process for local businesses to apply for liquor licences and planning approvals in a single application;

(c)         planning reforms to encourage a greater variety of licensed and non-licensed businesses and new regulations to manage clustering and trading hours of late night licensed venues;

(d)        reforms to encourage the private sector to include creative space in new developments;

(e)        under-utilised government-owned buildings to be made available for cultural and creative uses;

(f)          establishment of a NSW Government night-time economy office to develop and oversee a night-time economy strategy, with representatives from state and local government and industry groups;

(g)        support for any reforms arising from the City of Sydney’s An Open and Creative City Discussion Paper, and consideration of any such reforms as a model for local governments seeking to minimise red tape for cultural spaces;

(h)        address regulatory overlap associated with the management of noise;

(i)          development of a NSW Cultural Policy;

(j)          increased funding for arts and contemporary music of at least $35 million; and

(k)         reforms to the planning framework in NSW that support ‘agent of change’ principles; and

(B)        the Lord Mayor be requested to write to the Premier of NSW, urging the NSW Government to develop a roadmap for Kings Cross which outlines their commitment to working with residents, local businesses, the cultural and creative sector and other relevant stakeholders toward the reinvigoration of the area, with the aim of repealing the lockout laws in full across the Kings Cross precinct.

The motion, as varied by consent, was carried unanimously.