Photograph: Daniel Boud © Time Out 2018
The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), the new high-level industry group which aims to inject energy into Sydney and NSW nightlife, has officially launched and is welcoming new members.
The NTIA is looking beyond simply hospitality to revive Sydney’s nightlife, looking at arts and culture, which are also under threat in the current climate, to help revive a holistic night-time economy.
Chair of the association, Michael Rodrigues, explained that the NTIA has already sought to galvanise support from across the arts, music and hospitality sectors to recapture the region’s reputation as a vibrant and fun place to go out.
“The NTIA is the solution to the very well understood problem that our nightlife is in crisis and those of us who care about the reputation of Sydney and NSW need to band together to do something about it,” Rodrigues said.
“In just a few short months we have gone from a great idea to a strong and united voice for the Night Time Economy. The NTIA already counts as members Century Venues, Solotel Group, the Independent Bars Association, Sydney Fringe Festival, Australian Venue Co, the Mary’s Group, Music NSW, the Committee for Sydney, Sonos and Time Out.
“Our developing policy agenda includes formal recognition by government that the Night Time Economy matters, the creation of a Night Time Ministry, repeal of lockout, fixing venue regulation, creation of a one-stop shop for noise complaints, and substantial reinvestment in the creative industries.”
The launch event at Chiswick Restaurant in Woollahra drew 100 of NSW and Australia’s most influential stakeholders in the night-time economy, including senior executives from APRA AMCOS, Ticketmaster, Livenation, Carriageworks and the Art Gallery of NSW.
In addition to Rodrigues, the audience was addressed by entertainers Matt Okine and Josh Pyke, the Hon. Cate Faerhmann MLC, the Hon. Penny Sharpe MLC, Councillor Jess Miller and Committee for Sydney Chairman Michael Rose.
Rodrigues added: “If you are a business or organisation that relies on the Night Time Economy, now is the time to join the NTIA and start the fight back to re-energise nightlife in NSW.”
The official launch also heard from Justine Baker, CEO of Solotel, who said the time to act is now, with a Development Control Plan before the City of Sydney Council, a bid to repeal the lockout laws being read in the NSW Parliament this week and an election in NSW coming early next year.
Baker told attendees: “Personally, I’m really pissed off. I am not proud of Sydney and I have always been really proud of Sydney. It has been a place where I have loved living every minute of my life.
“But now I think ‘my kids don’t have that’ they don’t have that fun city. I don’t think that we are the cultural heartbeat that we used to be and I’m not so proud of the city.
“After months of saying how frustrated we were we’ve finally got to a point where we have started to do something about it, and I thank Mike [Rodrigues] for being the one really rattling the cages on this.
“Everyone has been dealing with this on their own single issue, but now we have the economy as the platform we can all work together on. That’s what all of us in this room drive – the night-time economy and it was never elevated to where it should be. And this is what the NTIA is all about, a collaborative approach to the night-time economy.
“When you go to Government with a single issue it’s very easy for them to make it number 50 or number 250 on their priority list. It’s really hard for them to ignore the night-time economy. You need a stable environment to invest in and we don’t have that right now.
“We are proud members of the association, we believe it is the way to maker change – having that cross-sector unity and collaborative approach to all levels of Government.”
Baker called on everyone and every business with an interest or a stake in the night-time economy to join the association and add to the voice of unity and collaboration in order to make a difference.
“March 23 will be here in a heartbeat,” Baker said. “We cannot wait another four years, I urge the parties here to take a stand. One party must make a stand before March and say ‘I will support this, I will repeal lockouts, I believe in music and I believe in the creativity and culture of our city’. People come and they will invest in that.”
The NTIA has said that its objective is is to promote Sydney as a vibrant and creative city and to build a new, positive narrative for Sydney’s nightlife that includes: 1. That Sydney is a fun and inspiring place to live, work and play; 2. That Sydney’s nightlife contributes to the cultural value of the city; and 3. Nightlife stimulates creativity, which is an important economic driver for NSW.