Sydney’s clogged roads and drab night-time economy are a “major drag” on its international reputation when compared with similar global cities, a new report has found.
The Committee for Sydney think tank has prepared a report that benchmarks Sydney as a place to live, work and study compared with other international destinations.
Committee chief executive Gabriel Metcalf says the report clearly shows room for improvement in certain areas such as culture and transport.
“The news is generally very positive. By one measure, Sydney remains the second-most admired city in the world,” he said in a statement.
“But there are also issues we need to work on. Sydney is seen as lacking cultural breadth.
“We are not a world leader on climate change. Sydney is more car dependent than the competition and the city is a very expensive place to live.”
The Benchmarking Sydney’s Performance 2019 report compares Sydney with other cities on measures such as business, higher education, lifestyle and culture.
Sydney’s business credentials and top-class universities were a clear highlight of the report.
“The city continues to consolidate its Asia-Pacific and global business functions despite rising competition,” the report read.
“The established presence and global reach of Sydney’s major corporates remains a major edge relative to its peers.”
The high cost of living in Sydney could, however, make the city less appealing when competing to attract foreign students, the report found.
“Young people come to Sydney with high expectations of work culture and an ability to thrive in professional careers, and the city remains a leader in the Asia-Pacific for its skilled and multi-talented pool of human capital.
“However, affordability now acts as a major brake on Sydney’s ability to retain talent, even relative to some of its most expensive peer cities.”
Transport and the night-time economy were singled out as areas of concern.
“As other global metropolises adopt more ambitious mobility policies, Sydney’s car reliance is becoming more exposed by new global benchmarks of congestion, pollution, public transport and active mobility,” the report read.
“Our night-time economy is a major drag on the world’s perception of Sydney,” the report added.
“The shortcomings and constraints on Sydney’s night-time economy are proving to be a major dampener to Sydney’s reputation among some of its key audiences, despite high overall scores among visitors.”
Across all benchmarks the report found Sydney was a “contender” destination similar to Boston or Toronto, but was not considered among the most influential cities such as New York or London.
NSW shadow treasurer Walt Secord says the report clearly shows the state’s controversial lockout laws need to be scrapped at once.
“It is time the Berejiklian government faced facts and accepted lock-out laws are hurting the NSW economy. They should be repealed,” he said in a statement.
“We’ve all had a tough year so I say to the premier, bring forward the changes. Bring life back to the CBD. This will increase spending.”