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News November 8, 2015

QLD lock-out proposals tweaked for entertainment precincts?

QLD lock-out proposals tweaked for entertainment precincts?

Image: Brisbane live venue The Brightside

In a proposal to be put to Parliament this week, Queensland’sPalaszczukGovernment has tweakedaspects of its controversial 3 am lockout rules to battle alcohol-fuelled violence.

The new plan, theSunday Mailreportedyesterday, willsee mostof the state’s 7200 licensed venuesclosed by 2 am.

But thoseinSafe Night Precinctsas Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley and the Gold Coastcan apply to stay open until 3 amon the provisiontheyhave 1 am lockouts.The extra hour is only to deliver live entertainment and soft drinks.

But it’s doubtful is this is going to impressvenues in theseareas.The night has wound down by 3 am as far as revellers are concerned, so it’s no big deal for them.An urgent issue for them is that high market shots would be stopped after midnight: the loss of these sales would drastically cut into their night’s takings.

Neither is it going to impress theprecinctvenuesthat the Government isdecidingon whether cocktails would be allowed after midnight, and if boutique whisky barsbeexempt.

In other changes to the proposal, venues can apply for up to 12 special ­permits to extend their trading hours a year for special events.

TheSunday Mailreported, “Consultation will also continue on whether or not a voluntary or mandatory scanning system will be introduced as part of the package, and which clubs and pubs would need to be part of that scheme.”

Attorney General YvetteD’Athhas changed the rules slightly after strong lobbying from the state’s venues.

Venue operators quickly set up an industry-led lobbying body named Our Nightlife Queensland to specifically target the proposed changes. It has effectively asserted up to 5000 jobs would be lost and tourism numbers affected.

Itpointed to police statistics for the 2015 financialyear which showed the number of assaultshas fallenin various precincts by between 23% to 15%.It hit at the Government for lack of consultation, and dismissed plans to change the rules as unnecessary.

Its Secretary NickBrabanargued, “We don’t have the issues that are manifesting down south. It’s a reaction to a problem that doesn’t exist here, and it’s going a bit too far.”

The Government also faced problemsfrom crossbench MPs Billy Gordon, Robbie Katter and Shane Knuthwho saidthat they would not support the proposal as it stood.Gordon said he would back a 3 am close if the 1am lockout and mandatory ID scanning were dropped.

The Government rejected it, saying 30,000 hospitalisations took place a year from alcohol consumption, one in six Queenslanders are victims of alcohol-fuelled assault and two-thirds of the state considers their cities unsafe on Saturday nights.

If thislatestproposalisaccepted, it would come into action on July 1, 2016.


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