If passed, the development and operation of the markets would be handed over to the private sector and opened within five years.
And in an effort to boost pedestrian movement, he also suggested working with Sydney City Council to speed up ‘shared streets’ plans and closing more streets after 6.30pm for outdoor dining, performance spaces and free seating.
A spokesman for the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, said the report’s recommendations were aligned with the council’s vision for the CBD, and that he would assess the ideas alongside his existing work.
The pandemic’s hit to CBD businesses has already prompted the council and state government to boost outdoor dining.
The new report recommends installing integrated power supplies in public spaces, walkways and outdoor dining areas for artists, musicians and other creative types to help reactivate CBD.
It also urges funding museums, galleries and other cultural institutions to stay open late throughout the week, while encouraging them to expand works outside of their venues by developing pop-up sites.
And that suggests building on the Vivid festival with an ongoing program of lighting displays in the CBD.
In a bid to attract more people to the city, the report urges reduced fares on trains and other public transport in the CBD at night. He also recommends a free public transport zone in the CBD – similar to Melbourne’s free tram zone – to encourage people to stay after work.
It promotes a widening of pedestrian routes and an expansion of cycle paths in the CBD, while facilitating the boarding of bicycles on trains and buses.
The actions described in the report are the culmination of work by six high-level commissioners, including former Telstra boss David Thodey.
Amy Brown, head of the government’s new Department of Corporate Investment and Trade, said the economic strength of CBD was significant but “much of that strength is actually linked to quality of life”.
“If it’s not livable, the investment itself is not going to follow,” said Ms Brown, who was one of the commissioners.
Former New South Wales Liberal leader Peter Collins, who was also commissioner of the project, said the CBD could not rely on “business as usual” coming out of the pandemic, warning that it risked being left unchanged. “This plan, right now, is absolutely essential,” he said.
Despite the immediate challenges of the Omicron outbreak, urban planning expert and former CEO of the Committee for Sydney, Tim Williams, said the city had performed well during the pandemic by international standards. “We are absolutely going to be the beneficiaries of a global quest for quality and quality of life,” he said.
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the most important and interesting stories, analysis and ideas of the day. register here.