City of Sydney to go 24-hours, but live music misses out
Much excitement surrounded Monday, May 13, after City of Sydney’s Late Night Trading plan was green-lighted unanimously at its monthly council meeting.
“It’s time for Sydney to become a 24-hour city and we’ve now given businesses the opportunity to open around the clock,” lord mayor Clover Moore announced in a statement.
From June, 24-hour trading will be allowed in the city centre, while low-impact food and drink venues on major high streets have their trading hours extended to 2am.
They have to apply for these via a development application process, which includes public consultation and a trial period.
Venues holding low-key performances and events as poetry reading can stay open a further hour.
Late night trading was also given the go-ahead for the Barangaroo and Green Square areas, while Alexandria will host a new arts, entertainment and cultural precinct to spread night time activity.
More than 10,000 people said they wanted a diverse and exciting night-time economy, not a city that is “unsafe or that shuts down as soon as the sun goes down,” Moore said.
However, the change won’t exempt live music venues from existing state government-implemented lockout laws.
The lord mayor, who has been critical of the lockouts added, “The City of Sydney is doing its part.
“I hope these changes encourage the NSW government to reconsider the lockout laws and help Sydney regain its status as one of the world’s premier late night destinations.”
However, NSW customer service minister Victor Dominello poured cold water on this
“The NSW government supports a vibrant and diverse nightlife for Sydney and welcomes initiatives that contribute to this,” said a statement from his office.
“The City of Sydney has already stated that their plans for 24-hour trading would be subject to the lockout and last drinks measures that apply to certain licensed venues in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross precincts.”
For the live music sector, more buoyant night time activity may lead to a change of government heart about lockouts.
Looking at the big picture, John Wardle, general manager of the Live Music Office told TMN, “What’s important about these changes is that they further set the ground rules for building a better night time economy in the city.
“Encouraging compatible land use for live music and performance venues such as late night retail and hospitality businesses will bring a more dynamic, active and interesting character to the city after dark.
“That’s got to be good for existing venues, support new ones, and hopefully, also bring momentum for state regulatory agencies to review the lockouts this year.”
The Reclaim The Streets group was not buying into the upcoming changes.
“While the lockouts and 2am drink restrictions are in place, it’s hard to see how this policy will allow anything but the most boring, middle-class forms of entertainment to flourish,” spokesperson Jack London relayed to TMN.
“Yawn. Give us a bell when the government is ready to give us back our 500-person, all-night, sweaty, sexy techno raves.”