ID scan­ners raise con­cern

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRISTIE AN­DER­SON christie. an­der­son@ news. com. au

FLIN­DERS St late night traders say ID scan­ners will help make the city’s party strip safer but they are con­cerned about the on­go­ing cost.

From tonight, venues in Safe Night Precincts, in­clud­ing Flin­ders St, will have to scan the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of pa­trons en­ter­ing es­tab­lish­ments.

The safety mea­sure re­places the widely un­pop­u­lar State Gov­ern­ment pro­posal of a 1am lock­out time.

How­ever the scan­ners are costly and un­der the leg­is­la­tion they have to be op­er­ated by a li­censed crowd con­troller.

Safe Night CBD Precinct Townsville pres­i­dent Jodie Bell said she had heard three venues in Townsville would be clos­ing early to avoid hav­ing ID scan­ners but most es­tab­lish­ments sup­ported the mea­sure. But, she said many busi­nesses were con­cerned about hav­ing to have the scan­ners op­er­ated by se­cu­rity guards which could cost up­wards of $ 80,000 a year.

“We all un­der­stand the rea­son be­hind ID scan­ners and we do be­lieve it will re­duce the num­ber of in­ci­dents,” she said.

“We’re just try­ing to find com­mon ground and pro­vide a safe en­vi­ron­ment with­out im­pact­ing on the on­go­ing cost so much.

“It’s sad that more con­sul­ta­tion wasn’t done with li­censed venues and it’s un­for­tu­nate they did a blan­ket ap­proach be­cause re­gional ar­eas are very dif­fer­ent to metropoli­tan ar­eas.”

Busi­nesses have the op­tion of clos­ing at mid­night to avoid be­ing forced to use scan­ners.

Statewide, 238 li­censed ve- nues in Safe Night Precincts will be re­quired to have ID scan­ners. Her­itage Ex­change owner Em­manuel Bo­giatzis said they were ex­pect­ing to have some teething is­sues with the scan­ners but he sup­ported their in­tro­duc­tion.

“A cou­ple of traders have had a few is­sues scan­ning some of the in­ter­na­tional and over­seas driver’s li­cences but the com­pany that sup­plies the ma­chines is work­ing on the is­sue,” he said.

“They can still en­ter the venue but their de­tails have to be en­tered man­u­ally so we’re wor­ried it will slow things down.

“Most of the late night traders are sup­port­ive be­cause it will keep out the trou­ble­mak­ers on the ban­ning list and bring fake IDs to our at­ten­tion.

“At the end of the day if this so­lu­tion makes venues safer then it will be bet­ter for us and bet­ter for pa­trons.”

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