Shops and businesses in central Sydney may soon be allowed to trade 24 hours a day

The Opera House James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Sydney council is proposing a bid to let shops and businesses in central Sydney open for 24-hour trading in an attempt to liven Sydney’s atmosphere after dark.

Shops, bars and businesses in a large area of the CBD would be allowed to open for 24-hours under the draft development control plan.

A map of the area that would be allowed to trade for 24-hours under the changes (in light green) City of Sydney

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said “overwhelming” public feedback in favour of “a diverse and exciting night-time economy” highlighted the need for the change.

The change comes after the first review in over a decade of Sydney’s late-night operations was conducted earlier this year, and found more than 10,000 residents and visitors wanted to see more late-night options.

The 24-hour trade area would extend from The Rocks in the north, down to Central station in the south, then along to Pyrmont Bay in the west, and then to the edge of Margaret Street, Elizabeth Street and Wentworth Avenue on the east side.

The changes won’t affect the 1.30am lockout laws that apply to certain bars and pubs within the area, but would allow other businesses and retails stores like clothing and accessory stores, banks, bookshops, dry-cleaners and hairdressers to open for 24 hours, should they wish to.

Businesses within the area aren’t under any obligation to open for 24 hours as some wouldn’t have enough customers after day trading hours to justify the cost.

Under the changes, existing late-night trading areas in Chippendale, Redfern, Surry Hills and parts of Potts Point would also be expanded.

A new 24-hour arts and entertainment precinct in an industrial part of Alexandria, and new late-night trading areas in some of the city’s fastest-growing neighbourhoods, such as Barangaroo and Green Square will also be established.

Moore said the changes were important because the late-night economy employs 35,000 people and is worth more than $4 billion to the NSW economy each year.

The draft planning controls will be considered by Council on 19 November. If approved, they will be on public exhibition from 27 November to 8 February on the City of Sydney website.