Sydney, 19 April 2024: A barrage of hidden fees and charges are holding back New South Wales’ nightlife as organisations providing entertainment, hospitality and events are forced to pay thousands of dollars in rubber stamp fees.

Analysis by the Night Time Industries Association found that opening a new venue in Sydney is costing some operators more than $29,000 in mandatory reports and approvals alone.

The costs sky rocket when the Development Application (DA) approval times result in operators spending tens of thousands of dollars on rent while waiting for a rubber stamp to proceed. In the case of one Sydney CBD venue, the entire process has cost more than $73,000 in dead rent, mandatory reports and application fees with approval still pending.

A list of typical fees and charges are included in the table below.

Night Time Industries Association CEO Mick Gibb says that the excessive rubber stamp fees are a secret tax on fun stopping industry from moving forward.

“These rubber stamp fees from State and Local Government are a secret tax on fun in NSW. They’re a powerful handbrake holding NSW back from having the kind of nightlife we all want where innovation and spontaneity are at the fore.

“These fees and charges extinguish any entrepreneurial spark that might be pushing someone to open a new venue or to put on an event. For example, if you want to open a small bar in Sydney’s CBD you may be required to get 18 different reports, documents and forms ready to go alongside your DA. It’s anathema to innovation.

“The State Government has come to the table with a robust reform agenda for some archaic legislation and regulation. However we need to address the rubber stamp fees and excessive fees that are hindering their good work.

“In a cost of living crisis venues are doing all they can to encourage patrons through their doors – including throwing special events. These secret costs are a significant disincentive to putting on the type of events and activations that add vibrancy and excitement to the night.

“It’s these rubber stamp fees that are making it near impossible to do business in NSW and are contributing to the loss of iconic festivals like Splendour in the Grass.”

Table 1: Indicative fees and charges faced by night time economy operators

These fees are aggregated from NTIA members.





User pays police

NSW Police

NSW Police can require any ‘Special Event’ to engage user pays police. Officers are charged out at $144 per hour/per officer.

The indicative cost shown is for four officers over an eight hour period for a small scale festival of ~2,000 people.


Development Application lodgement

Local Government

A Development Application is required for any changes to a venue’s operations or the building.

Fees vary depending on council and costs of works.

~$800 to $2,000

Heritage report

Local Government

Required as part of a submission for any heritage building related DAs.


Risk assessment reports

NSW Police / Local Government

Required for a plan of management and DA to identify and plan mitigation strategies for risks.


Accessibility reports

Local Government

Particularly pertinent for older buildings, this details how accessibility will be achieved for all patrons.


Acoustic reports

Local Government

Required for a DA submission.


Road Closure

NSW Police / Local Government / Transport for NSW

For an event where road closures may be required to maintain public safety. The authority depends on the type of road or street.

Included in the figure are costs from wayfinding, letterbox drop, application to CoS, plans of management.




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