Member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp MP, has welcomed Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello to the city to discuss the local night time economy and the measures needed to stimulate the sector as part of a post-COVID recovery.
Mr Crakanthorp has been engaging extensively with the Government and attending a series of meetings with the Minister and representatives from the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority to advocate for changes that would assist the economic recovery and create a level playing field with the rest of the state.
Mr Crakanthorp said that with the impacts of COVID-19 severely impacting the sector and the region experiencing increasing unemployment, the time is right to look at changes that can support this important part of the local economy.
“I am pleased the Minister has heard my calls that the Newcastle’s night time economy needs support,” he said.
“With the industry trying to recover from a one in 100 year pandemic, the time is right to review the restrictions on local venues.”
As an example, Mr Crakanthorp pointed to rules that mean small bars must close at midnight and that cocktails cannot be served after 10pm.
“By nature, a cocktail is a drink you sit on and enjoy – it’s certainly not something you slam down quickly,” he said.
“We want to be a global city, but what global city has this kind of restriction on these drinks? It’s embarrassing.”
As well as making the city more attractive to visitors, Mr Crakanthorp said small extensions in service hours will significantly increase the profitability of these venues and create more job opportunities.
“With $1 billion in public investment and $2 billion in private investment Newcastle’s CBD is quite different to that in 2008, but with so many restrictions still in place venues are struggling,” he said.
“There is a real fear that COVID-19 may be the final nail in the coffin for some of our fantastic venues, and we need to act to make sure that they get through this and that Newcastle has the vibrant night economy it deserves.”