The night-time economy: the importance of Australia’s after-dark small businesses

- May 19, 2016 2 MIN READ

There has been much talk about Australia’s night-time economy recently, particularly in Sydney where the community has become increasingly vocal about the lockout laws and keeping the city open.

A third report in a series exploring the performance of Australia’s night-time economy has been released today by the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors.

The report looks into changes in levels of annual sales revenue, number of businesses operating and employment across 14 key urban areas, including all state and territory capital cities.

The CCCLM Chair and Lord Mayor of Darwin, Katrina Fong Lim, noted the significant contribution activities taking place during the evening and night time make to the national economy, “The reported increase in jobs created and revenue turned over at night time reflects the need to support a growing 24 hour society.”

The report highlights that annual night-time economy sales revenues in 2013-14 was estimated at $108 billion – an increase of 20 percent from $90 billion in 2009 – the broader Australian economy grew by  around 14 percent in the same period.

The night-time economy employs over 1 million people nationwide – 8.7 percent of all Australian employment. Compared with the day-time economy, employment growth in the night-time economy experienced strong annual growth of 2.2 percent.

Food led businesses continue to grow, and accounts for 58 percent of all night-time economy sales volume, with close to $38 billion of sales at restaurants and cafes, take away food sales follow at $24.6 billion. Food led revenue grew by $14 billion in the 2008-09 to 2013-14 period. Liquor retailing increased slightly by 18 percent since 2008-09 – slightly ahead of the 13 percent inflation rate increase in the same period.

The report reinforces the importance of city night-life and the need for local, state and federal government support for the people and businesses that live and work around the clock.

“Federal, State/Territory and Local Governments have a responsibility to support the range of city users, including residents, day and night time businesses as well as those that visit cities for work and entertainment,” said Fong Lim.

LGA Sydney was the leading night-time economy growth location with revenue up by $683 million, a 24 percent increase in revenue since 2009.

Sydney is currently working on their strategy to open the city and support small businesses and establishments, including conducting a liquor law review and creating public transport changes.

The report concludes that, “Over the period from 2009 to 2014 the rate of growth of the core night-time economy has been 50 percent better than overall revenue growth in the federal economy In spite of this positive record of economic growth and its significance to the overall economy the night-time economy is fractured by unresolved debate between interests with different perspectives which inhibit market and community interest optimisation. A better model of governance and related best practice and cost funding is at the heart of improvement.”


Photo credit: Mike Baker

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