By Andrew Starke

The City of Sydney is not looking to shut down Sydney’s nightlife at midnight and has accused the media of running a ‘negative campaign’ against late night trading reforms.

Responding to recent opinion pieces by the Australian Hotels Association (AHA NSW) and publican Andrew Jolliffee run on TheShout, City of Sydney late night economy manager, Suzie Matthews said well run night-time venues were a welcome part of Sydney’s diversity and cultural life.

“The City of Sydney is not shutting down Sydney’s nightlife at midnight,” she said. “There are parts of the City where venues operate all night. In fact, Central Sydney has the greatest concentration of 24 hour premises in NSW and this will not change.”

Matthews contends that any view of late night trading reform should take into account the reasons behind the creation of the Development Control Plan (DCP) for late night trading premises three years ago: violent, anti-social behaviour resulting in attacks, fights spilling out onto the streets and police and paramedics continually being called to respond.

“Under the DCP, many venues have the option to operate until 3am, 5am or 24 hours—and good operators need not fear their hours will be restricted,” she said. “However, extended trading hours are approved based on an ongoing commitment to good management and safety—but are not an absolute right.”

In this respect the council is using DCP measures to provide an incentive for venue operators to manage their premises in a safe and responsible manner while using the same regulations to restrict those it feels are not complying.

However this only applies to new venues and premises substantially modifying their operations.

“The negative campaign being run in the media misrepresents the truth,” said Matthews. “And the truth is that the minor and technical amendments to the DCP that were proposed recently do not include any new time restrictions.

“A successful late night economy is good for the health of our overall economy, but at the same time we want people to enjoy themselves in a safe environment.”

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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