Collaborative Action to Revive City’s Economy

The Sydney Business Chamber says State and Local Government along with the business sector need to collaborate and put into action a coordinated plan to revive the once $130 billion Sydney CBD economy and help drive us out of the Covid-induced economic downturn.

“Today’s announcement by the Treasurer of a summit to help the city through the summer period is a great move to attract people – both workers and visitors – back into the streets and offices to boost business,” said Katherine O’Regan, Executive Director of the Sydney Business Chamber.

“Prior to the pandemic, the CBD equated to around 20% of State GDP. It is home to the headquarters and offices of national and international corporations and thousands of small businesses, delivering over 670,000 jobs and attracting visitors to places including Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and The Rocks.”

“The Covid crisis has taken people out of city offices, shops and streets, causing major disruption to this vital ecosystem and for it to recover, there needs to be both quick fixes and longer term changes to work patterns and land use of both public and private spaces.”

“Sydney City Council, Transport for NSW and individual businesses have taken measures to attract people back to the economic centre and heart of Sydney and the Treasurer’s summer summit is a great initiative. There will be a phase of recovery and then a phase of revitalization, bringing many changes and with them opportunities.”
“A clear pathway for the CBD’s recovery and revitalization can provide a real opportunity to shape Sydney as a truly global 24-hour City.”

“There are five key moves that can start the journey of recovery and revitalization now:

1) Flexible hours of Work – Encouraging more flexible work hours so employees across industries can then travel outside peak times, reducing crowding on public transport and road congestion. This will require cafes and restaurants to open later to accommodate those looking for a coffee or a meal after 4pm when most of them shut food service in the CBD. Libraries and government services can also be available later to facilitate change from the traditional 8am – 6pm work day.

2) Active and other modes of transport - Encourage and enable more active transport for the first mile/last mile, including an e-scooter trial and more inner city bike lanes strategically placed to link transport hubs. Improve lighting and security on footpaths and around transport hubs to make it safer for people, especially women, who are working later/earlier hours – necessary in creating a safe 24 hour economy in Sydney. This means companies will also need to refresh and improve their end of trip facilities for showering and changing/lockers.

3) Public transport a safer option - provide more frequent peak hour services for Covid safe travel – especially on buses. Encourage wearing of masks on public transport by handing out free masks at key bus and train stops.

4) Use and create spaces both public and private – whether it is a café adding outdoor chairs, a florist displaying arrangements, or a bookstore setting up a library on the footpath, we have to think about spaces differently. Whether they are public or private spaces they are spaces and can be safe places for markets, music or other activities.

5) Local Tourism - Introduce live entertainment events to attract workers and visitors throughout the day and into the night. Street festivals and pop-up food fairs spaced simultaneously at various locations around the city, rather than in one central location where large crowds will deter people from attending. By having smaller events you can spread them out and move them around the city with a variety of experiences, accompanied by street performances like plays, music and dancing.




Media contact: David Peters 0413 872 491

Sydney Business Chamber is dedicated to creating, advocating and promoting Sydney as a City of Opportunity – a global city to Invest, Work, Live and Visit. Our program is based around the key issues of city building, business transformation and innovation. Please share this article and visit us here to find out about becoming a Member. 

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David Peters

Public Affairs Manager, Sydney Business Chamber