Beyond lockouts and lockdown: A global vision to drive Sydney’s 24-hour economy

March 22, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

The lockout laws have gone. JobKeeper ends this month. And while local bars are thriving, city venues definitely are not. The NSW Government has just appointed a 24 Hour Economy Commissioner, Michael Rodrigues, and the New South Wales Government and the City of Sydney are pulling together to actively plan for the implementation of the NSW Government’s 24-Hour Economy Strategy.

Global Cities After Dark kicks off in Sydney on Monday, focussing on all of the essential elements in Sydney’s night-time economy:

  • Hospitality
  • Live Music and Entertainment
  • Major Events and Tourism
  • Transport and Health & Safety

“As we support and champion a safe, prosperous and vibrant 24-hour economy in Sydney, it’s vital local state government and the industry at large work together collaboratively,” said Minister Ayres, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney.

“Global Cities After Dark presents a week-long opportunity to fast-track discussions, workshop ideas and rebuild constructively at scale.”

Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, agreed: “Sydney’s night-time economy has been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. But as we cautiously begin our recovery and shake off the last of the lockouts this month, we have a renewed opportunity to work together to create the safe, diverse and exciting nightlife that a global city like Sydney deserves.”

Founder of Global Cities After Dark, Jane Slingo, has hosted the event in Sydney for the past five years and estimates that around 200 Sydney venues have closed during the pandemic.

“This is the perfect time for key sectors to come together and consider the amazing opportunities in Sydney. I’ve never seen the local and state government so aligned and set to collaborate,” she said.

“The overarching objective of the event is to bring together key stakeholders for the first time in over a year…This is a phoenix rising moment in Sydney and an opportunity to set up actionable objectives for a period of growth from 2022-2024.”

The presentations at the five day conference will be a combination of virtual and real life, local and international speakers, with stakeholders from all aspects of the night time economy coming together to share their vision.

Michael Rodrigues, inaugural NSW 24-hour Economy Commissioner and former chair of the Night Time Industries Association, said: “Since its inaugural conference in 2017, Global Cities After Dark has been a catalyst for change in the narrative surrounding Sydney’s nightlife. I look forward to participating in this year’s conference as we look to unlock the potential of Sydney’s night-time economy and in so doing accelerate our recovery from the pandemic.”

International speakers include Riyaaz Amlani – CEO & Managing Director Impresario Entertainment (Mumbai, India) who has set up 58 restaurants across 16 cities in India, Paulette Long OBE – Music Publisher, Consultant, Deputy Chair, UK Music Diversity Task Force (London, UK), celebrated creative entrepreneur Vince Kadlubek – Founder, Meow Wolf (Sante Fe, USA) and Mark Curran – Rail Closures Planning Manager, former Night Tube Sponsor, Transport for London (London, UK).

The closing event on Friday, 26 March at the Powerhouse Museum, Celebrate Local, a live music, performance and culinary experience to mark a new chapter in Sydney’s life after dark.

Line-up for the event includes: Michael Rodrigues, Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Scully, Robbie Buck, Carla Theunissen from City of Parramatta, Mark Curran from Transport for London, Stephanie Strilakos from Transport for NSW, Tanya Ali Program Manager, FBi Radio and Vince Kadlubek – Founder, Meow Wolf (Santa Fe, USA). On the music front there are performances from Barkaa, Kyva, Sarah Houbolt. 

Tickets are on sale now with limited capacity due to COVID safety restrictions. For more information and to purchase, please visit

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