New Night Chair to enhance Melbourne’s economy after dark

Performing arts professional Penny Miles has been appointed as Chair of the Night-time Economy Advisory Committee, leading a group of industry experts to enhance Melbourne’s resurgence after dark.

​Miles has served on the committee since its creation in June 2021, and will bring a wealth of knowledge from the performing arts sector and the city’s post-COVID recovery to the role. 

She currently works as a consultant to the arts, creative and not-for-profit sectors, and has previously held executive and senior roles with Circus OZ, Australia Council for the Arts and Arts on Tour. 

The new appointment follows the resignation of the committee’s inaugural Night Chair James Young to focus on his iconic live music venues. 

In its first year under Young’s leadership, the committee provided advice on a range of initiatives to reignite the night-time economy, including: 

  • advocacy to the Victorian Government around the introduction of a health pass system to reopen venues more swiftly for vaccinated patrons
  • an outline of five key priorities, including a specific focus on Melbourne as a twilight city, extended opening hours, increased activations and a new marketing campaign to encourage people to remain in the city after work 
  • the Melbourne Money and Midweek Melbourne Money programs 
  • Project Night Justice Night Safety Summit and Night Safety Charter and Toolkit to improve night-time safety for women and other vulnerable groups. 

City of Melbourne data shows average night-time activity at Southbank was at 146 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in June, while Lygon Street reached 92 per cent of the pre-COVID benchmark. 

Night-time activity in Chinatown is also on the rise, reaching 81 per cent of the pre-COVID benchmark last month. 

As a city hospitality venue owner, Young remains an invaluable contributor to the city’s resurgence after dark. 

The committee includes representatives from some of Melbourne’s best-known hospitality venues, creative events and arts organisations. The Night Chair is a voluntary position. 

Quotes attributable to Acting Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece 

“Penny Miles will bring a wealth of experience, energy and passion to the Night-time Economy Advisory Committee as its first female Chair. 

“We’re incredibly grateful to James Young, who has brought so much to the committee through an extremely difficult time to revitalise Melbourne’s night-time economy. 

“James will continue to contribute to Melbourne’s vibrant nightlife through his venues, and we wish him all the best.” 

Quotes attributable to Night Chair Penny Miles 

“It’s an honour to step into the role of Night Chair and lead the Night-time Economy Advisory Committee’s important work of enticing more people into the city after dark. 

“Over the past year, the committee has contributed to several key initiatives that have supported night-time traders, and I’m looking forward to taking the reins and building on James’ outstanding work.” 

Quotes attributable to former Night Chair James Young 

“After more than a year serving the City of Melbourne as Chairman of the Night, it is time for me to step aside from the role. 

“The decision was not easy, but it’s important that I fully turn my attention to my five recently re-opened live music venues. 

“It has been an honour and privilege to serve as Melbourne’s first-ever Night Chair, and to work with such a diverse and talented group of people.” 

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