Early nightclub lockout laws at risk of defeat in Queensland Parliament

Reduced licensing hours for nightclubs should be evaluated after 18 months, a Queensland parliamentary committee has recommended.

However, the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee could not reach a majority decision on whether the proposed new laws should be passed and the Opposition has vowed to vote against the bill.

Government members supported the changes, but non-government members said the previous LNP government's Safe Night Out strategy should be given a chance to work.

The committee recommended:

  • Appropriate data on alcohol-related incidents be collected and available from agencies which this bill affects, for example Queensland Police, Queensland Health and Queensland Ambulance Service
  • Should the bill be passed, there be a thorough evaluation of the changes in the community as a result of the bill's implementation, 18 months from commencement
  • The Government address the drafting issues identified in section 3.1.7 of this report

Government members recommended:

  • The current approved late night extended trading hours in takeaway outlets be wound back by the new trading provisions; that is, no exceptions should apply
  • The definition of "lockout" as contained in the Bill be amended to "one-way door"

The Government wants to debate — and pass — the Tackling Alcohol-fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill when Parliament resumes next week.

The laws would impose a last drinks time of 2:00am across the state, except in prescribed Safe Night Precincts where alcohol could be served until 3:00am, but with a 1:00am lockout.

Although the committee was split, it agreed that if the bill is passed there be a thorough evaluation of the changes 18 months from its commencement.

The minority Government now needs the support of one of the three crossbench MPs, but all three have expressed dissatisfaction with the proposed changes and the timetable for debate.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said the Government had planned to review the laws after two years.

Late this afternoon, Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg confirmed the LNP would oppose the legislation, saying the evidence was not clear the Government's approach would work.

"That's just an indication that there's not confidence in what the Government is proposing," he said.

The bill would also ban the sale of high alcohol content and rapid consumption drinks such as shots after midnight.

There would also be no new approvals granted for selling takeaway liquor after 10:00pm.

The reduced trading hours and lockout would not apply to casinos and airports that are subject to a commercial special facility licence, nor to industrial canteen licences.

Source: ABC News

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