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Sydney’s nightlife scene gets wake-up call

Sydney nightlife pre-lockout laws. Photo: John Webber from his series "In the Hood".


The City of Sydney has selected 15 night life experts for a new advisory panel to put some new energy back into Sydney’s morose nightlife.

Panel members have been chosen from a range of sectors including the nightlife industry, not for profit groups, academic organisations, retailers and creative sectors. To qualify participants have to live, work or study in the City of Sydney’s Local Government Area.

The appointments are for three years and members of the Sydney Nightlife Panel must attend at least three of the four meetings held each year.

126 applications were received. Of the 15 participants chosen, at least two positions were set aside for people under 30. Somewhat disappointingly, the City of Sydney rejected the application of former Sydney night club czar John Ibrahim, who has over 30 years of experience and a wealth of insider knowledge to impart.

“This new advisory panel brings together passionate and experienced industry professionals to help us navigate the challenges and opportunities facing our night-time economy at this most critical time,” Clover Moore, Lord Mayor, City of Sydney said.

From its ascendency in the 80s with live music, theatre and al night bars Sydney has slowly given its nightlife prominence away to Melbourne and cities such as Adelaide.

The reasons for the slide in the inner city are multi-faceted and include the emergence of social media, gentrification, the Casino, rising rents and the movement of creative people outside of the areas included in the LGA. For Kings Cross, Darlinghurst and the City of Sydney, the belly blow was the lock-out laws.

“Certainly in Potts Point and Darlinghurst areas the lock outs decimated the night life, but what we have to do now is think outside the box and find alternative solutions,” Kerri Glasscock, panel member and director of 505 and Festival Director Sydney Fringe said.

John Green, the director of policing with the Australian Hotels Association said: “Rather than the AHA having a voice (on the panel) it related to my skills over a particular period of time with my policing background and the representing hotels through a range of committees and being aware of the issues that they face.”

Twenty Five year old Jacob Collier is one of the youngest members of the panel and brings it the experience he has gained from serving on the Glebe Chamber of Commerce and running his own start up events company.

“In my demographic there is a mix of interest and a lot of misconception that dance clubs, raves and alcohol are the primary interest, but people my age are just looking for a greater variety of activity,” Jacob Collier said.

Kerri Glasscock places a lot of the blame on social media for perpetrating the belief that Sydney nightlife is dead and has a positive message of her own when she said, ”The social campaigns around the City’s nightlife being dead have not helped in anyway, and hopefully a panel like this can address this.”

The Lord Mayor makes it clear that Sydney’s nightlife crisis is real when she said “While we will continue to advocate to the NSW Government to relax lock-out laws, provide adequate late-night transport and explore licensing reform to allow well-managed venues to continue to trade, we are doing everything we can as a local government to revitalise Sydney’s night-time economy.”

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