By Andy Young, TheShout
In a major development, the state government has announced that the second stage of Queensland lockouts may not be introduced.
Speaking earlier in January, Queensland’s Acting Premier Jackie Trad said that the Government was expecting an interim report into the first six months of its alcohol restrictions and that it would then “make a decision in the interests of Queenslanders based on the Queensland experience.”
The second stage of the alcohol restrictions is due to be implemented on 1 February and other Queensland Ministers have backed the possibility of either delaying or completely ditching stage two.
Minister Grace Grace said: “We have now had a good six months of the reduced hours and we find that reducing the hours of alcohol consumption goes a long way to reducing the number of alcohol-fuelled violence incidences. I am well aware of what the licensees’ views are of the lockout laws but let’s wait for the report, let’s see what the report says and then the government will consider that when it is received.
“This is a package of solutions and the government is looking forward to the report to see how all of this is working.”
Our Nightlife Queensland Secretary Nick Braban told TheShout that he was “hopeful” the 1am lockouts would not go ahead.
“This is definitely positive, there is nothing set in stone yet, but we are hopeful that there will be some good news in the interim report that is coming from the evaluation team and is looking at the package so far. But there is still a lot of behind the scenes politics going on as well,” Braban said.
“We are pretty hopeful though, it is an election year and they will definitely want to clear the decks.”
He added: “You’d like to think they wouldn’t come out and say this kind of thing unless there was some sort of movement. I think it will hinge on the police data of the first six months, if that is flat or continues trending down, then that should give them the necessary breathing space to say ‘we don’t need to bring in the lockouts’.”
The LNP Opposition has opposed the lockouts in Queensland and Acting Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington labelled the possible ditching of the lockouts “a backflip of epic proportions”.
She added: “The LNP Opposition has tirelessly pressured the Palaszczuk Government to scrap these bad laws. Laws that would punish the majority for the sins of a few. Laws that would have devastated the state’s hard-fought reputation as a world-class cultural and entertainment destination. Laws that would have cost thousands of jobs.”
Frecklington also called on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to “come back from holidays, hose down the speculation and rule out the 1am lockout laws once and for all”.
The first stage of alcohol restrictions were introduced in Queensland on July 1 last year and saw 3am last drinks in entertainment districts, while suburban pubs, bars, hotels and clubs had a 2am last drinks introduced. Shots and other ‘rapid-consumption drinks’ were banned from sale after midnight across the state.
Picture credit: Keep Queensland Open