Sydney Lord Mayor and vocal lockout law opponent Clover Moore has unveiled a ballsy new plan to stab an adrenaline needle directly into the city’s dangerously-close-to-flatlining heart.
She’s just lifted the curtain on a multi-pronged strategy to transform the NSW capital into a 24-hour city and take a wrecking ball to the red tape that has been strangling late-night trade in the CBD.
Before you get too excited, City Of Sydney can’t do much about the dreaded lockout laws, which are state government-mandated, but their proposal does include provisions for live music venues both in and outside the lockout zones to apply to keep their doors open for an extra hour.
Under the changes, any licensed venue that hosts at least 45-minutes worth of live music or performance per night would score an extra 60 minutes of trade before they have to call last drinks; however the 1.30am / 2am lockout would still apply, at least while the lockout laws are continuing to linger around like the foul smell of stale urine in Central Tunnel.
A City Of Sydney spokesperson has confirmed to Music Feeds that council is hopeful the notorious laws will soon be scrapped as well, but until then, they’re doing their best to improve conditions for struggling business as best they can.
Among other things, their game-changing new plan includes:
- Extending 24-hour trade in the CBD, from Darling Harbour in the west to Hyde Park in the east and Central Station in the south. This will also apply to “unlicensed businesses” like retail stores, banks, drycleaners and hairdressers (so going shopping for a new outfit at 2am because you spilt red wine on your top could soon become a thing!)
- Allowing shops, businesses and low-impact food and drink venues on main streets to trade until 2am (which means post-midnight kebabs will be legal again in Newtown!)
- Encouraging a new 24-hour trading area with an arts, cultural and entertainment focus to develop in the heritage warehouse precinct around north Alexandria
In a statement, Lord Mayor Clover Moore explains that the proposed changes are the result of an “unprecedented response” to the City of Sydney’s first review in over a decade, from community members who were pissed off about Sydney’s strict late night planning controls and regulations.
“More than 10,000 people gave us their feedback and the overwhelming majority said they want Sydney to have a diverse and exciting night-time economy with events and activities for people of all ages and interests,” Clover says.
“What they do not want is a city that is unsafe or that shuts down as soon as the sun goes down.”
Her statement continues:
“The changes we are proposing to our controls manage the balance between allowing well-managed venues to continue to trade, and any impacts on local neighbourhoods.
They respond to the very strong demand for a thriving, late-night city and set the foundations for a truly 24-hour Sydney into the future.
This is important because Sydney’s night-time economy is critical to our city’s future, employing over 35,000 people and worth more than $4 billion to the NSW economy each year.”
The plan has been met with a celebratory fist-pump by Sydney Fringe Festival CEO Kerri Glasscock, and cautious optimism by anti-lockout advocacy group-turned-political party Keep Sydney Open, who reckon it’s a “positive step”, but question whether it will “make a difference with a state government so hostile to the night-time economy”.
The draft planning controls will now be considered by Council on 19th November and, if approved, will be chucked online for public exhibition from 27th November 2018 to 8th February 2019.
A City Of Sydney spokesperson tells Music Feeds they’re hopeful the changes will be given a big thumbs up and put into action by March/April of next year.
*Evanescence’s ‘Bring Me To Life’ surges climactically in the background*
Your move, Gladys.