Lock­out re­jected

In­dus­try pans pro­posed 1am cur­few

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

THE State Gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed changes to lock­out laws have been slammed by the lo­cal hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

The gov­ern­ment is propos­ing a 1am lock­out and 3am shut­downs for night­clubs, plus a mid­night ban on the sale of shots, cock­tails and neat drinks.

Lo­cal busi­ness­peo­ple met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from in­dus­try body Our Nightlife Queens­land on Tues­day af­ter­noon to dis­cuss the pro­posed changes.

Mama Africa night­club owner Stacey Har­vey, who has been in the in­dus­try for 14 years, said the changes would have a “knock-on ef­fect” on the lo­cal econ­omy.

“In a small com­mu­nity like this, the mar­gins aren’t great in food and bev­er­ages and hos­pi­tal­ity in gen­eral, so any re­duc­tion in trad­ing hours is go­ing to have an im­pact on the bot­tom line and it’s not just my trad­ing hours that’ll be im­pacted,” she said.

“If peo­ple change their habits and go out ear­lier, they’ll fin­ish up at restau­rants ear­lier, go to the live mu­sic venues ear­lier and not stay out as long, so ev­ery­one’s trad­ing hours be­come af­fected.”

The gen­eral feel­ing was that the for­mer LNP Gov­ern­ment’s Safe Night Out leg­isla- tion was work­ing and that the new changes were un­nec­es­sary and would cost jobs.

In the Whit­sun­days alone, Our Nightlife Queens­land es­ti­mates the pro­posed lock­out law changes will put up to 720 jobs at risk, end in the clo­sure of lo­cal small busi­nesses and re­sult in the loss of $9.2m an­nu­ally to the Whit­sun­days econ­omy.

Our Nightlife Queens­land’s Nick Bra­ban said the in­dus­try was happy with the cur­rent laws.

He said there had been a 23.5 per cent re­duc­tion in as­saults and 123 ban­ning no­tices is­sued since last year’s in­tro­duc­tion of the Safe Night Precinct in Air­lie Beach.

Down Un­der Bar man­ager Tim Lang­ford said he felt the gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed changes were “a re­ac­tive re­sponse”.

“I un­der­stand there’s a public con­cern to deal with al­co­hol-re­lated vi­o­lence – I agree – but there’s sim­ple, proac­tive mea­sures that can be made in­stead of these re­ac­tive knee­jerk re­sponses which don’t solve any­thing,” Mr Lang­ford said.

NOT HAPPY: Safe Night Air­lie Beach CBD Precinct sec­re­tary Jas­min Lear, Mama Africa Bar and Nite­club owner Stacey Har­vey, Air­lie Beach Ho­tel owner Mark Bell, Our Nightlife Queens­land’s Trent Meade and Nick Bra­ban and Down Un­der Bar’s Tim Lang­ford dis­cuss the state gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed 1am lock­out laws.

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