Industry experts to guide Melbourne’s night-time recovery

Cherry Bar owner James Young has been nominated to lead a group of industry experts who will work to reinvigorate Melbourne’s night-time economy and bring the buzz back to the city.

​The Night-time Economy Advisory Committee will play a critical role in working with the City of Melbourne and will include representatives from some of Melbourne’s best-known restaurants, creative events and arts organisations.

Thirteen external industry leaders have been shortlisted to join the Advisory Committee to provide strategic advice, industry expertise and knowledge that will help guide decision-making and solve challenges faced by night-time industries and businesses.

Shortlisted candidates:

James Young (Chair)Owner, Cherry Bar, Yah-Yah’s and Westwood Hotel
Angie GiannakodakisOwner, Epocha Restaurant and Elyros at Home
Andrew Walsh AMArtistic Director and Executive Producer, Accolade Event Management. Former Artistic Director and inaugural CEO, White Night Melbourne and Commonwealth Games
David HaberfeldElectronic dance music producer, performer, DJ and educator. Editor Sessional lecturer, Monash University
Jackie MiddletonDirector, EARL Canteen
Kenneth Ngov

Founder and CEO, Tang Events. Managing Partner, Baroq House. Partner, Ms Collins.

Managing Director, Bond Melbourne

Lauren O’DwyerAssociate Director of Strategy and Advocacy, Arts Centre Melbourne. Board Member, Arts and Cultural Management Advisory Board, Deakin University. Board Director, PBS 106.7FM. Chair of Theatre Works Board
Elizabeth RodriguezCo-owner, Grossi Restaurants. Victorian State Council Member, Restaurant and Catering Industry Association
Matthew MullinsOwner, Garden State and Waterside hotels. Company Director, Sand Hill Road
Patrick DonovanDirector, Patrick Donovan Creative Consulting. Former CEO, Music Victoria
Penny MilesExecutive Director, Circus Oz
Simon AbrahamsCreative Director and CEO, Melbourne Fringe
Virginia Lovett Co-CEO, Melbourne Theatre Company. President, Arts Projects Australia

Expressions of interest for the external roles were sought in February with a total of 91 applications received. The shortlist of high-calibre candidates will be considered by Councillors next week.

The Advisory Committee will also include two academic advisors – Nicole Kalms, the Founding Director of the Monash University XYX Lab and Michele Acuto, Professor of Global Urban Politics and Director of the Connected Cities Lab at the University of Melbourne – along with representatives from the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Government.

Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp:

“Our vibrant and diverse nightlife is part of Melbourne’s DNA and is what draws people into the city after dark,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We’re bringing the ‘who’s who’ of Melbourne’s nightlife together to work with us.

“With night-time pedestrian activity still at 50 to 60 per cent lower than pre-COVID-19 levels, we need to pull out all stops to protect and revitalise our night-time economy.

“Issues to be considered by the committee include city safety and creating diverse night-time offers and activities to reflect Melbourne being a 24-hour city.”

Quotes attributable to City Activation portfolio lead, Councillor Roshena Campbell:

“The City of Melbourne’s night-time economy grew by $310.3 million in 2018, contributing $3.5 billion in annual turnover and supporting 31,000 jobs,” Cr Campbell said. 

“Night-time industries have been hard-hit by COVID-19 with more than 10 per cent of jobs in the Victorian accommodation and food sector lost since the start of the pandemic.

“The best ideas and solutions will come from strong collaboration between all levels of government and the industry leaders who run our restaurants, bars, major events, cinemas, performances and have first-hand knowledge of what is needed to sustain and grow our renowned night-time attractions.”

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