The NSW Government will convene a meeting of key stakeholders to devise ways to boost business and encourage more people back into the Sydney CBD as the state’s recovery from COVID-19 gathers steam.
Up to 100 people will be involved in the project, which will gather key stakeholders from the business community, entertainment and accommodation industries, travel, major corporations and Government.
The NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the key aim would be to boost economic activity in the Sydney CBD that remained below pre-COVID levels.
“While many other regions and locations across the city have actually seen business return or even rise, the CBD has been hit in a pincer movement,” Mr Perrottet said.
“The number of CBD workers has been down for a year and is still below normal levels and this has hurt all the businesses that rely on their patronage such as shops, cafes, restaurants and retail.
“At the same time we have seen international visitors, and much interstate travel, essentially shut down, that means millions of visitors not spending.”
The upcoming CBD Summit will be a half-day event in April at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
It follows an earlier event held in September last year which resulted in a range of successful initiatives which encouraged people back to the city across summer, including a $20m partnership with the City of Sydney.
This included more flexible outdoor dining and seating arrangements, extra transport services, and activation grants for musicians and artists, Culture Up Late at cultural institutions, as well as events such the Sunset Piazza that offered a program of live music, comedy and other entertainment in the heart of the city.
“The original Summer Summit played an important role in bringing people together at a time when we were all still grappling with how to recover from the COVID-19 lockdown and resultant impacts on our city and livelihoods,” Mr Perrottet said.
“There were a lot of important ideas out of the day which we followed through on such as more flexible outdoor dining and eating, extended hours for museums, entertainment over summer and multiple cultural events.
“Perhaps the most important element of that event was it helped give everyone confidence that we could return to a more normal way of living.”
Business Sydney Executive Director Katherine O’Regan endorsed the CBD Summit announcement, saying the conversation needed to continue to ensure the revival of this critical driver of the state’s economy.
“The first summit proved the value of business, stakeholders and government working together to support the CBD economy and we now have the opportunity to build on this and stay on top of the challenges that remain in keeping businesses open and people in jobs.”
“To maintain its mantle as a global city we must work to ensure the development of a 24-hour economy in the heart of Sydney, attracting people to return to the city, both for work and play – day and night – to experience all the great things it has to offer.”
The CBD Summit will take place on April 22.