NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Night Time Economy

Captivating entertainment, delicious food and drink, and a thriving arts scene is our vision for nightlife across the state.

Nightlife is one of the most important parts of a city or town’s culture. Captivating entertainment, delicious food and drink, and a thriving arts scene is our vision for nightlife across the state.

The department is helping achieve this vision by emphasizing how arts, cultural and hospitality can contribute to local economies and make nightlife a safe and exciting space for communities.

In August 2016, the NSW Government released the Night Time Economy Round Table Action Plan that included 25 actions. As part these actions, the Department is investigating ways it can help entrepreneurs who want to establish or expand existing businesses to add to the vibrancy of the Night Time Economy.

Our Guide for Establishing and Managing Night Time Economy Uses helps entrepreneurs better navigate the planning system and other legislation.

NSW Government’s 24-hour Economy Strategy

In September 2020, the NSW Government launched the 24-hour Economy Strategy, its long-term vision for Sydney. The strategy is a collaborative effort, reflecting the work of many NSW Government agencies, an Industry Advisory Group and a number of Sydney councils actively involved in shaping the night time economy.

The department will assist to deliver the strategy, with actions identified to activate spaces and place-making, align planning and liquor approvals, and streamline processes.

Liquor Amendment (24-hour Economy) Act 2020

In December 2020, the Liquor Amendment (Night-time Economy) Act 2020 (Liquor Amendment Act) was made to support councils’ ongoing work to develop a vibrant, safe and modern night time economy across NSW.

The Liquor Amendment Act which was passed by both Houses of Parliament in November 2020, seeks to encourage a vibrant and diverse nightlife where live music and entertainment thrives.

A number of amendments have been made to planning legislation to facilitate this, and to elevate the importance of arts and cultural activities, including live music and performance arts.

Please refer to our fact sheet (PDF, 142 KB) for further details about how the changes to planning legislation may affect council processes and procedures.

Circular Quay and Sydney Harbour Bridge illuminated with colorful light, during the Vivid Sydney. Photo by RugliG / Shutterstock

Designed to make it faster and easier for you to plan and open your night time economy business.

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Councils are allowed to formally establish a special entertainment precinct in their local area. Find out more about the Precinct Pilot Program.