Time Out Australia MD, Michael Rodrigues, on why there has never been a better time to take positive action for Sydney's nightlife and night time economy
Over the past year or so, many of you have asked me how I have managed to simultaneously run Time Out Australia, while mobilising multiple industries to get to fixing Sydney, through the newly founded Night Time Industries Association.
The answer is pretty simple, really. I have made time for what I believe in.
Taking a step or two back… I founded Time Out Australia in 2007, because – as migrants to this country – Sydney has given my family and I so many opportunities. And because of those opportunities, I was so proud, so in love with Sydney, that I wanted to celebrate this city, and share it with the world. Time Out was the ideal vehicle with which to achieve that – ours is a brand on a mission to inspire you to go out and have fun in your city. Simple.
But since then, something in our culture has fundamentally changed. Thanks to the advent – and our willing acceptance – of multinational comfort butlers, it now seems that going out has become too difficult. Between Netflix, Uber-Roo, Jimmy Brings, and the rest, our sweatpant-adorned arses now are magnetised to the couch each night, as we settle for the next episode in 3, 2, 1… at the expense of genuine, relevant, local culture.
I have made time to fight for what I believe in, because I won't accept a palliative care facility of a city for my children, when they come of age.
I have made time to fight for our night time economy because so many people I know, love and respect in this city are struggling to pay their bills.
I have made time to fight for our culture because – as Jake Smyth of Mary’s Group said – if we want it, we have to fight for it.
I have made time to fight for Sydney, because if not me... who?
Today we launch a campaign to revitalise Sydney's night time economy. Our campaign is called Unite for the Night. Unite for the Night asks government to cut nonsensical regulation. It asks industry to collaborate to make the going out experience more compelling by working together. And it aims to remind Sydneysiders that we can't take our civic infrastructure – the very stuff that makes life worthwhile – for granted. Because if we do, we might just lose it. Our first major campaign milestone is a fundraiser gala gig at the Metro Theatre, on March 7.
My co-conspirators on this campaign have been many and include captains of industry from all corners of the night time economy. But one comment that Rennie Addabbo, MD of Sonos Australia and New Zealand made during the process has stuck with me. "When it comes to progressing the things you believe in, it's easy to click Like, sit on your arse and feel like you're on side of good, and leave it there. But if that's all you're doing, you have to ask yourself if you're really on the side of good.”
Silence itself is an action.
It's those who act on their beliefs who make the difference. And now's the time to act on your belief in Sydney, if you haven't already.
The NSW state election will be held on March 23. Here's how you can help:
- Your organisation can join the Night Time Industries Association.
- Attend the Unite for the Night fundraiser at the Metro Theatre, on March 7. All proceeds directly support Sydney’s night time economy.
- If you can’t attend the fundraiser, you can market the gig through your own channels
- Monitor the parties’ commitments to our night time economy, and use your vote wisely on 23 March. Stay up to date here: uniteforthenight.org.au/scorecard
- And of course, get out there, and support those creating culture at night.
I’m all in. Are you?