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$20 million summer lifeline to make our CBD economy sizzle

2 Oct 2020

The NSW Government and City of Sydney Council today announced they would provide up to $20 million in joint funding to boost the CBD economy, support businesses and create jobs across the vital summer period.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Government will commit up to $15 million and Council would provide a further $5 million towards a range of initiatives to encourage more people to visit, eat, shop and enjoy the CBD.

“The pandemic forced the CBD into a COVID hibernation and it’s vital we revive our use of the city for work and pleasure, to keep people in jobs and businesses in business,” Mr Perrottet said.

“This summer will be a testing time for many businesses but this funding will help breathe life back into the city and get our economy moving again.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the NSW Government’s recent Summer Summit highlighted the need to relax restrictions and red tape to make it easier for businesses to draw people back into the city.

“Having more outdoor dining and entertainment areas across the CBD is an obvious drawcard in bringing people back into the city. The planning system is getting out of the way in order to create more seamless and streamlined processes that save business owners time and effort,” Mr Stokes said.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the summer lifeline would be extended with safety front of mind.

“It’s critical we show flexibility in how we operate as a city this summer and we’ll be doing that in line with COVID public health orders,” Mr Dominello said.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said council wanted to ensure city businesses don’t just survive, they thrive in the long term.

“It is important that we move quickly to deliver a clear plan for activating the city for summer. The City and the NSW Government are working together on a shared vision for transforming Sydney into a 24-hour alfresco city over summer and beyond,” Ms Moore said.

“To help Sydney get back on its feet we’re going to set up outdoor performance stages in key city locations, fund live music and performance in venues, bars and restaurants, and deliver a summer of outdoor dining.”

With the start of summer 59 days away, the Government and Council are now working through a range of funding options to support initiatives that could include:


  • allowing more flexible outdoor dining, drinking and seating arrangements for
  • established businesses;
  • will consider entertainment stages across the CBD, in areas such as Martin Place;
  • enhancing promotion of cultural institutions and allowing them to stay open late;
  • increasing promotion and advertising to attract people into the Sydney CBD;
  • exploring COVID Safe creative ideas such as hosting outdoor cultural events;
  • recruiting renowned local artists to perform in dining areas and entertainment
  • precincts;
  • more flexible public transport options.

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