Solotel’s Justine Baker urges industry to come together

13 December, 2018 by Craig Hawtin-Butcher

Almost a month to the day since the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) was formed, the organisation is gaining momentum as the new high-level industry group aiming to inject energy into Sydney and NSW nightlife.

Australian Hotelier met Solotel’s CEO Justine Baker, a key member of the NTIA, to discover why it’s so important for the industry to ensure its voice is heard ahead of the State election.

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AH: Why have you (personally and as Solotel) got involved with the NTIA?

JB: You don’t make change by sitting on the sidelines. I joined the NTIA because I believe that by combining the voice of the diverse sectors of Sydney’s night time economy we become stronger. It is with this united voice we can enact change by leading a positive message about the unbelievable industry we all belong to and love and diminish the negative narrative of the last five or so years. I genuinely believe the NTIA and its members can make lasting change to Sydney’s night life.

It sounds like a collaborative group – do you feel you have strong momentum?

It’s easy to be collaborative and gather momentum when you’re working alongside a great group of people who share the same purpose and are equally passionate about that purpose. We’ve only just started but we absolutely have momentum, the NSW Music Inquiry and its recommendations are testament to that.

We have several members who have shown they’re equally dedicated to changing the industry but of course we need more members to be the strong voice that is heard at all levels of Government.

What are you hoping to achieve in the short and then medium-to-long term via the NTIA?

In the short term we aim to drive membership and gather support across the industry, which will ensure the politicians hear us ahead of the State election in March. Running into the election we will run a public awareness campaign and sit with all sides of government to explain our position and the opportunities that lie in the changes to policy.

In the longer term we plan to gain greater support from Government, which includes the appointment of a Minister with the Night Time Economy in their portfolio. We hope this will see the removal of lockout laws and streamlining the management of noise issues, improvement in NSW Planning laws and an investment fund for the creative industries.

What does success to you and the organisation look like?

Ultimately we want Sydney to be seen as having a thriving night time economy, globally. To do this though we need to have the lockout laws removed and commitment from State Government to making the Night Time Economy a priority.

How can interested parties get involved with your efforts?

Through the website, ntia.org.au. Or, if they want more information prospective members can call or email myself or any one of the board members.

I urge our industry to come together. We need to get organised and align on this issue to show the value of our industry to the politicians at all levels. We need to make a noise, we need to stand up and be heard, together.