The York, Clarence and Kent Street (YCK) laneways precinct has been the first in Australia to be awarded the Purple Flag, an international accreditation that rewards ‘safe and thriving locations at night’.

The Purple Flag was first launched in the UK in 2012 by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM). Since then, about 90 hospitality precincts around the world have been awarded the Purple Flag, including areas of London, Stockholm and Auckland.

Mike Rodrigues, NSW 24-Hour Economy Commissioner, believes the pilot program (announced in December, 2022) can help make Sydney’s night-time locations safer and more vibrant by providing something to aim for.

“We are working to deliver a better night out for all and Purple Flag will boost Sydney’s reputation as a global nightlife destination, creating a thriving 24-hour economy across the state as more precincts apply for accreditation,” Rodrigues said.

“We want the community to enjoy a rich mix of entertainment and activity for people of all ages, with safe access to high-quality amenities and services.

“A collaborative and coordinated effort is required to build a vibrant and strong 24-hour economy and the YCK team has shown considered planning and a willingness to innovate in earning Purple Flag status.”

To be awarded a Purple Flag, areas are assessed against a series of criteria, including over-arching strategy, transport infrastructure, wide appeal in entertainment and streetlamps. The ATCM states that benefits include ‘a raised profile and an improved public image for the location; a wider patronage, increased expenditure; lower crime and anti-social behaviour; a more successful mixed use economy in the longer term’.

Karl Schlothauer, YCK Laneways Association Vice President, also commented on the scheme, expressing his delight at the precinct being the first in Sydney to be recognised.

“Whether it’s for some retail therapy, to visit one of the superb small bars, grab a late-night bite or enjoy one of our regular arts and cultural events, we are committed to delivering our patrons a safe, friendly and fun experience,” he said.

The pilot program is continuing throughout 2023, with Parramatta CBD; Haldon Street, Lakemba; and Marrickville all set to be part of the Purple Flag accreditation scheme.

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