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Palaszczuk government approves lockout laws for QLD

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has released a statement outlining a controversial new deal that will limit last drinks to 3am under new lockout laws.

The 3am rule will apply to entertainment precincts while outside pubs and clubs will have to adhere to an even stricter 2am.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, KAP member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter and member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth agreed to a series of measures, noting the following.

“These are important issues for Queenslanders. We are committed to curbing alcohol-fuelled violence, but we are also committed to increasing employment and devoting more resources to mental health,” the premier said.

“Alcohol-fuelled violence is an important social policy for the government, and the impact of unemployment and the economic downturn are important social policy issues for us,” Mr Katter said.

“The meaningful discussions we have had with the government have ensured we have been able to make progress on all these issues,” Mr Knuth said.

The new deal mirrors NSW’s 2014 decision to introduce strict lockout laws after several fatal one-punch assaults; however, those laws have been criticised by Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore’s assertion that people should be allowed to socialise late at night.

Mr Katter and Mr Knuth will support the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 based on the following:

1. Drug offenders can be banned from Safe Night Precincts 
Extend the powers of courts to impose banning orders on persons convicted of drug offences in Safe Night Precincts. Currently these banning orders only apply to offences of violence. Any changes to these powers will be subject to consultation with stakeholders and would require legislative changes.

2. Existing $8 million Safe Night Precinct funding can be used to assist transition to new liquor laws 
To alter the guidelines for the Safe Night grants to allow applications by Safe Night Precinct Local Boards, for assistance to transition to the new liquor laws, including for security.

3. Trading hours for licensed venues will be implemented in a staged approach
• Last drinks to be introduced by July this year as proposed: Firstly, the 2am last drinks will operate in all venues outside of precincts, and 3am last drinks in the precincts, from 1 July 2016.
• Lockouts to be effective from 1 February 2017: Secondly, the lockout for the 15 Safe Night Precincts will start on 1 February 2017. This will give operators in those Precincts sufficient transition time. The Bill will be amended to reflect the proposed commencement dates of the different measures. All other measures in the Bill will also commence from 1 July 2016.

4. Independent review of laws from July 2018 
The laws will be independently reviewed after two years from the commencement of the legislation, being 1 July 2016. This review will be prescribed in the Bill. This timeframe will ensure that the laws are reviewed 17 months after all measures have commenced.

Member for Stafford Dr Anthony Lynham said he supports these measures as sensible solutions in achieving a reduction in social harm caused by alcohol and violence.

Rosie Clarke

Rosie Clarke is managing editor at Multimedia Publishing.

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