By James Atkinson
AHA NSW president Scott Leach said the association is ‘staggered’ that Lord Mayor Clover Moore and her council commissioned research ‘that would have taken one person to walk down to Circular Quay on a New Year's Eve to work out’.
The hospitality industry body and the council have repeatedly clashed over Moore’s vision for Sydney’s late-night economy, particularly the City of Sydney's Development Control Plan (DCP) on late night trading.
The study by consultants Trends Business Research and MAKE Associates found that almost 40 percent of Sydney city businesses play a role in the night time economy, generating more than 18 percent of city's total sales turnover in 2009.
It says that while consumers are increasingly demanding more restaurant and food options, the number of drink-related businesses has declined.
Between 2006 and 2009, the number of pubs and bottle shops fell from 311 to 287 while restaurants, cafes and take-away food venues increased from 1,943 to 2,141.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the research confirms what Sydneysiders have told the council in community consultations – that they want more restaurants and outdoor eateries, more movie festivals and concerts and museums and art galleries opening late.
"Having a drink with friends or workmates will always be an important part of Sydney's night-time culture, but people want to be able to combine that with lots of other activities, and we want to help make that happen," she said.
But the AHA's Leach said the research simply confirmed "that just as many people move about the city at night as in the day, but without any services or support – less policing and less transport".
"Our criticism of council's policy is that it is nothing more than social engineering, rather than a comprehensive, considered and responsible strategy to promote the city as a night-time precinct for all stakeholders not just the select chosen few," he said.