Sydney Unlocked: How Sydney's Nightlife Rebounded from Lockouts and Lockdowns

Sydney Unlocked

For a webcast on Feb. 13, 2023 (Feb, 14, 2023 in Australia) 24HourNation hosted Michael Rodrigues, 24 Hour Economy Commissioner for the Government of New South Wales, and Emily Collins, Managing Director for Music New South Wales.

We discussed discuss best practices, strategies, everyday victories, and what’s in store as NSW and the City of Sydney focus on a very vibrant future for their nighttime economies.

Watch the YouTube recording of this webinar at the bottom of this page


2014, the Government of New South Wales was compelled to reduce alcohol-fueled violence in Sydney’s central business district. The state government established a suite of curfews and bar cut-off times that served their purpose and curbed late-night violence in the city.

For five years, Sydney’s nightlife was forced into a state of hibernation. More than 150 bars, nightclubs, pubs and live music venues closed.

In January 2020, the lockout laws were amended but, as the saying goes, just as Sydney was beginning to rebound, along came COVID saying, “Here, hold my beer.”

In March 2020, the NSW Parliament began responding to the pandemic. For more than a year, public health mandates took additional swings at Sydney’s nighttime economy.

Finally, in October 2021, having successfully reached public health goals, Australia’s largest city re-emerged.

The Government of New South Wales doubled down on the importance of its nighttime economy through a slate of initiatives and investments. As the state’s official music body, MusicNSW also helped stabilize and accelerate Sydney’s economic recovery.

As a result, Sydney has flourished.


Michael Rodrigues launched the “Time Out” brand in Australia under license in 2007 . In his time at the helm, he grew the audience across print, digital and social channels to in excess of one-million Australians monthly.

In recent years, and prompted by the challenges facing Sydney’s nighttime economy, he launched and chaired the Night Time Industries Association. Australia’s NTIA was instrumental in lifting Sydney’s lockout laws and shaping the State of New South Wales’ 24-hour economy strategy.

In February 2021, Michael was announced as the state’s inaugural 24-Hour Economy Commissioner, a role he commenced on March 29, 2021.


Music New South Wales is the state body for contemporary music in New South Wales. It drives industry development, advocates for the needs of a diverse music sector, and leads industry partnership and collaboration.

Music New South Wales also delivers a range of projects, programs and initiatives focused on the creative and professional development of musicians and industry professionals.

In her role as Managing Director, Emily Collins manages all operational and strategic aspects of the organization, including leading music industry campaigns. Her role is to advocate for the needs of the NSW music industry, artists, businesses, venues and the art form, as a whole.



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