MELBOURNE'S Night Time Economy (NTE) continues to be the envy of the nation, according to the City of Melbourne, with new data released as part of the Australian Night Time Economy Report 2015 showing a 48 per cent increase in food sales between 2009 and 2015 and a 4.7 per cent decrease in sales of alcohol.
"One of the first tasks I set myself when I became Lord Mayor back in 2008 was to activate Melbourne's Night Time Economy so there are lots of things to do and see in the city that don't revolve around the service and consumption of alcohol," Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said in a statement.
"The latest figures reflect that this policy is working, with food sales up 48 per cent and alcohol sales down 4.7 per cent in the past six years.
"We have been working to normalise and activate the city during the darker hours with cultural events, performances, sporting matches, extended shopping hours, later (or earlier) food service and various other entertainment offerings while increasing safety provisions and improving public transport options in Melbourne.
"Night time culture does not have to involve alcohol as its main focus and we have again shown how Melbourne has successfully achieved this, while still boosting the hospitality economy."
The latest report states: "The increases observed in Melbourne's Core NTE can be attributed to growth in the largest Core NTE sector, Food. Food accounts for 69 per cent of Core NTE establishments (1,652 establishments), 67 per cent of employment (18,230 people) and 62 per cent of sales turnover ($1.7 billion). Despite a five per cent decrease last year, the number of Food establishments has risen by 25 per cent since 2009, employment has increased by 32 per cent and sales turnover has increased by 48 per cent (from $1.2bn in 2009 to $1.7bn in 2015)."
"This trend is pleasing given that, with tens of thousands of extra people coming into the city every week to enjoy Melbourne's festivals, restaurants, shopping and events, the total alcohol sales could have risen, not fallen," the Lord Mayor said.
"As we grow as a city, there are jobs and activity created as a direct result of that growth. This is particularly pleasing because the hospitality industry employs a large number young people.
"I am continuing to work with licensees in the City of Melbourne to explore new and exciting ways to give people a great, safe night out. We should be really proud of this data."
More information about the Australian Night Time Economy Report 2015, which was prepared for the National Local Government Drug and Alcohol Committee, is available from the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors website at <http://lordmayors.org/>.