Monday, February 26, 2024

Circus OZ exec swings in to chair Melbourne night committee

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

​Ms Miles (pictured) 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, Council said in a statement.

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. 

“Penny Miles will bring a wealth of experience, energy and passion to the Night-time Economy Advisory Committee as its first female Chair,” said Acting Lord Mayor, Nicholas Reece.

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

“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,” said Mr Reece.

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

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. 

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

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

“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.,” said Ms Miles.

“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.” 

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