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    « Seven year itch | Main | Wayside's design excellence »

    Night-night for Kings Cross

    Interview with Suzie Matthews, director of the City Council's night-time economy program ... Diversification and shift of focus to older demographic ... Kings Cross not the main game for future growth ... Bold expansion plans ... Sara Tomevska reports 

    Suzie Matthews - queen of the night

    THE City of Sydney says it will double the value of Sydney's night-time economy to $30 billion and increase night-time employment by 25 percent.

    Surprisingly, Kings Cross is not regarded as an integral part of this plan.

    In an interview with Postcode2011 Suzie Matthews, director of Sydney's night time economy program at the CCS said:

    "It's fair to say Kings Cross already has enough entertainment options at the moment."

    Matthews explained that the "night-time economy" - trading hours between 6pm and 6am - was "not just about bars and clubs, it's also about the retail sector, entertainment options, cultural activities and the other kind of events and industries which happen at night". 

    The night time economy project also aims to shift the focus away from 18 to 25 year olds, aiming to have the over-40s constituting at least 40 percent of the demographic using the city at night. Matthews said: 

    "The point of this exercise is to make sure everyone has something ... it's about filling in the gaps for the rest of the age range." 

    Future of the night is not just about bars and clubs

    This will be achieved by extending trading hours of retailers and cultural centres like museums and galleries; increasing the availability and frequency of entertainment events such as live music; and creating new dining spots and licensed venues. 

    However, it seems Kings Cross is not the primary focus of this agenda. 

    The government's liquor restrictions are still generating grief from local hospitality entrepeneurs. 

    Justin Maloney, proprietor of Jimmy Liks in Potts Point, is unimpressed with the current situation. 

    In a recent interview for the Sun-Herald he said:

    "The government is not going to solve the problem with security on the streets of Kings Cross from behind my bar.

    It will not be solved by forcing me to serve $21 Manhattans in a plastic cup in my restaurant, but by stopping 18-year-olds from drinking four litres of wine from plastic bags out the front of it."

    Matthews recognises that, "many businesses [in the Cross] have been struggling".

    This could be due to the liquor controls: round-the-clock incident registers; CCTV systems; time-outs for 24 hour premises; no glassware during late trading; no service of alcohol one hour before closing time on weekends; no shots beyond 11pm, plus presence of RSA marshals and police and more transport options.

    Regardless of these measures, Matthews says: "alcohol related assault rates are still not heading down."

    Nonetheless, the manager of the night time economy program is hopeful the government will continue with the liquor restrictions past the current 2015 cut-off. 

    In the mean time, plyers of the demon drink will have to dream-up new business ideas to keep ahead of the game. 

    From Sara Tomevska

    Information on the Kings Cross liquor restrictions

    See more about the City of Sydney Night Time Economy 

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