With night-time pedestrian activity in Melbourne's CBD down by about two thirds on this time last year, a new committee has been established to reinvigorate the once thriving nightlife hub.
Announced today, the City of Melbourne has established a 'Night-time Economy Advisory Committee' tasked with ensuring the sector continues to play a major role in the CBD's economy.
The Committee will bring together leaders from the retail, hospitality and creative sectors, alongside government representatives and urban planners to solve challenges facing the night-time economy post-COVID.
The City of Melbourne, in partnership with the University of Melbourne, has also looked to successful international examples like New York, Toronto, London, Amsterdam and Tokyo to develop an approach that best fits Melbourne.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said Melbourne was world renowned for its night-time economy, and getting it pumping again would be critical to creating jobs and business opportunities.
"Melbourne is synonymous with a thriving nightlife, but COVID restrictions have hit these industries particularly hard," the Lord Mayor said.
"Establishing this Advisory Committee is about working together to make sure we're planning the best city possible after dark and we're doing what it takes to bring the buzz back to Melbourne.
"Melbourne is at its best when people come together to participate in the amazing experiences on offer, whether it's fine dining, an international film festival, live music event or a fashion show."
Portfolio Lead for City Activation, Councillor Roshena Campbell, said reviving the night-time economy would be critical to Melbourne's recovery.
"The City of Melbourne's night-time economy grew by $310.3 million in 2018, contributed $3.5 billion in annual turnover and supported 31,000 jobs," Campbell said.
"However, night-time pedestrian activity in the city has dropped by about two-thirds compared to the same time last year.
"We need to bring together bright industry minds to share their expertise and insights as to the best ways to support the many businesses that have grappled with harsh lockdown restrictions and reduced foot-traffic in the city."
The establishment of the Advisory Committee will be considered by Councillors at a meeting on Tuesday.
If endorsed, expressions of interest will be sought for up to 10 external roles to help boost Melbourne's night-time economy by providing data and expertise to guide decision making.
The City of Melbourne has already been pushing to get Melburnians back into the CBD, most recently by hosting surprise live performances by rock legend Jimmy Barnes last week.
Barnes performed at the Evan Walker Bridge in Southbank and outside the GPO in Bourke Street Mall in an effort to encourage foot traffic to return to retailers in the area.
The performances were the result of a partnership between the Victorian Government, Mushroom Group and the City of Melbourne through a $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund.
His performance followed the likes of musicians Daryl Braithwaite and Tones and I who also surprised fans with a live show in previous weeks.
"Melburnians enjoying a night out in the city were treated to a free performance by an Australian icon. Jimmy Barnes is more than a rock star. He's a household name and one of the best-selling Australian artists of all time," the Lord Mayor said.
"This is about bringing the buzz back to Melbourne. Our city is the live music capital of the world and investing in this industry helps local artists and to support the thousands of people work in bars, pubs, restaurants and theatres.
"My message to all Victorians is don't miss out. Come into the city to be surprised and delighted."
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