Since Sydney’s controversial “lockout laws” were introduced in 2014, Sydney residents have had mixed views on the restrictions placed on nightlife in their city.
One of the key criticisms from anti-lockout activists Keep Sydney Open is those invested in Sydney's night-time economy – venue owners, musicians and local party people – have not been considered in the changes greatly affecting their livelihoods.
This is, hopefully, about to change.
City of Sydney is now calling for input from local residents via an online survey. It asks people to share their ideas for the future of the city’s late-night hotspots, their experiences of going out in Sydney, how late venues should stay open and whether more people prefer areas such as Newtown and Surry Hills compared to Kings Cross as a result of the lockout laws.
This will be the first review in more than 10 years focussing on the locations and trading hours of hotels, bars, clubs, cafes and music venues. Jess Scully, councillor for the lord mayor’s office in Sydney, is excited for city planners to know where people are going out and what they want from their nightlife.
“This is an opportunity for people to have their opinion heard and for us to have a clear picture of what people want,” she says.
Residents have the month of March to complete the survey. After that, the responses will be taken to a panel of industry professionals, venue owners, policy makers and politicians to discuss and implement any changes.
One of the most important aspects for Scully is to encourage those most embedded in the scene to have their say. “We want to hear from younger generations who are positively and actively engaging with Sydney nightlife. People who want to keep Sydney open, should have their voice heard.”
The review is intended to consider changes in demographics and demand, and assess how effective the current lockout laws are at managing the impacts of late-night trading on nearby residents and businesses. Lord Mayor Clover Moore wants to find a happy medium between keeping people safe and maintaining an active Sydney nightlife.
“Our residents and visitors don’t want a city that is unsafe or that shuts down as soon as the sun goes down,” Moore says.
“The night-time economy is critical to our city’s future – it employs over 32,000 people and is worth $3.64 billion each year. If you’re interested in Sydney’s late-night economy, now is the time to give us your feedback so we can make sure we have the right planning controls.”
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