The Brag Media
News July 11, 2017

Backlash as QLD venues change hours, cut staff to avoid ID scanners: will state govt back down?

Backlash as QLD venues change hours, cut staff to avoid ID scanners: will state govt back down?

The Queensland Government is sending out signals that it might soften up on its new ID scanners policy, after a backlash from the live music industry.

Introduced on July 1, the mandatory use of scanners apply to venues in 15 Safe Night Precincts across the state which trade after midnight.

They have to check patrons from 10pm to ensure that past troublemakers are kept out of venues.

While the scanners have picked some up, venue owners complain it has cost them business and patron goodwill when they are working on “razor thin” profits.

John Lynch, GM of the Jack Hotel in Cairns, complained to media of losing $8000 in one night because up to 100 people left,deterred by long lines outside his venue. “It really is a joke,” he said.

As previously reported in TMN, an early glitch saw interstate and international IDs being rejected.

But even local IDs are having problems, with some not scanning for three times and then having to be manually entered. This could take five minutes for each individual ID.

Jamie Webb, owner of Brisbane’s Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, said the Government was ruining the state’s nightlife and revenues for venues.

“I have never been abused more tonight out of pure frustration since I ran a door with a dress code, the hospitality has been taken from our front door due to these laws,” he complained on a Facebook post.

“[It’s] now our job to bring it back and figure out how to make these laws, which we wont be able to change, fit with our ethos. As it stands what we are doing is not working.”

Six venues have already changed their licenses to trade only until midnight instead of 3am, to avoid the scanners. 31 more have applied for a change.

Others have cut staff hours and close at 10pm on weeknights because they can’t afford to put on a security guard.

Adding to the frustration is that the arbitrary decision of where a Safe Night precinct begins and ends, has meant that some venues are in the red zone while others 400m away are not. Which means that patrons are heading for these alternatives rather than queue up.

Yesterday Opposition Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie repeated his call for the new law to be dumped until further consultation with the sector.

He called the roll-out “an absolute stuff-up’’.

Bleijie added: “Just a week since scanners were introduced and, in true Labor form, communication with industry has been non-existent, things have been done half-baked and now jobs are at risk.”

An editorial in the Brisbane Courier Mail pointed out, “If proper costings and consultation had been conducted to begin with, then the Government would have discovered such a scanning scheme would have eroded profitability to the point where it wasn’t worth some establishments opening.

“And that is precisely what is occurring.

“Dozens of operators are handing in their licence to open after 10pm on weeknights to avoid this onerous and ill-advised reform.

“Those decisions are costing jobs and reducing earnings for numerous hospitality staff.”

What has also just emerged is that a year ago, the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation was advising venue owners that their staff could operate the scanners.

However by the time it was introduced, only licensed security could do that – which meant the extra cost of hiring them in addition to the cost of leasing and operating the machines.

Given the technical and legal issues, hospitality associations had asked the Government to delay introducing them on July 1. But it had refused.

Now Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is saying,” Of course we’ll always be listening; and where we can make changes, we’ll respond.”


Powered by
Looking to hire? List your vacancy today!

Related articles