Earlier review needed on tackling alcohol-fuelled violence laws

Monday 22 August, 2016

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has urged the State Government to bring forward the review of the tackling alcohol-fuelled violence legislation and to better market the laws.

CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said the small business community supported the government’s efforts in addressing alcohol-fuelled violence.

But, he added, a two-year timeframe on reviewing the controversial laws could seriously impact business.

“CCIQ’s views are no different to the general public in condemning the anti-social behaviour of those who excessively consume alcohol and inflict harm on others,” Mr Behrens said.

“However, the appropriateness of the measures are rightly being questioned in light of anecdotal evidence they have not reduced violence and have had considerable impact on the viability of venues both in and outside of entertainment precincts.”

The laws will not be reviewed until 1 July, 2018, at the earliest. 

“Queensland needs to sooner examine the consequences of these new laws, particularly for the late night economy and employment,” Mr Behrens said.

“Businesses that contribute to Queensland’s thriving nightlife scene are rightfully concerned about the economic consequences of the tougher laws.

“Given that the majority of patrons over the peak trading hours are well behaved and provide a significant boost to the late night economy, many businesses that operate responsibly view the laws as an unjust penalty placed upon them.

“It is essential for government to measure the effects of the legislation, preferably within a year, to determine the reduction in alcohol-fuelled violence and the impact on the economy.

“A 1 July, 2018 review will be woefully late if the state’s entertainment venues are experiencing serious financial hardship and the laws have not curbed alcohol-fuelled behaviour.

“A review process must be made public and be open to a reversal if they are found not to be working. Ensuring safety must be balanced against business interests, the economy and employment.

“CCIQ believes the State Government needs to better market the laws with a view to promoting patronage to the entertainment precincts. This has not yet happened and is the least the government can do to allow venues the best chance to prosper.”

Mr Behrens said the initial hope was that if the laws were effective in curbing anti-social behaviour, then perception of increased safety would increase the number of patrons, improve business for existing venues and potentially increase the number of overall businesses.

“CCIQ believes the laws can add to the safety of the community and increase economic activity. Now is the time for the State Government to get on the front foot and get this message out.”

 

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