The NSW government has convened a summit of businesses, government and industry stakeholders to discuss driving business, employment and foot traffic in Sydney in response to the impacts of COVID-19.
The summit was held on Friday at the Museum of Contemporary Art and followed events held in 2020 and 2021.
While speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, City of Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore supported the introduction of a free public transport zone and said that more city streets should be dedicated to pedestrians.
“In the longer term this pedestrianisation should be made permanent to enable a quiet, vehicle-free environment for outdoor dining and new public spaces from side street closures at intersections,” Cr Moore said.
“We’re proposing measures that can be implemented immediately to attract people to return to the city centre, while keeping an eye on the longer-term with measures to ensure our CBD is a great place for businesses, workers, residents and visitors alike.”
The NSW government previously discussed free public transport at the 2021 summit, however, no action has been taken as of yet.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said that this year’s summit would help accelerate the government’s economic plan in a COVID-safe way, saying that “this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape the city of the future.”
Previous summits produced initiatives including the Dine and Discover program and funding for local events such as the Elevate Sydney celebration and Sydney’s Open for Lunch.
Minister for Cities Rob Stokes said that the summit would set a roadmap to creating the city centre of the future.
“We need to get the settings right to draw people back to our city centres as we prepare for city life without lockdowns,” Mr Stokes said.
This comes following the release of a report from the Committee for Sydney, which also recommended free public transport zones as well as a 24-hour market, widened footpaths and a more expansive cycling network.
Inner West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne has called on the NSW Government to provide extra support beyond the CBD, with Inner West councillors voting on a new revitalisation motion of its own at a recent meeting.