The Queensland government has backed down from one of its signature policies and will not enforce a 1:00am nightclub lockout that was due to start next week, the state’s Attorney-General says.
Cabinet has instead decided to introduce compulsory ID scanners to safe night precincts including the Fortitude Valley nightclub precinct from July 1.
Venues in the state’s 15 safe night precincts are permitted to serve alcohol until 3:00am, an hour later than other venues, under the first stage of the government’s liquor rules which came into effect last year.
The government will now require venues in the precincts to scan ID cards of all patrons in order to trade past midnight.
The number of one-off permits granted to clubs to serve alcohol past 3:00am will also be reduced from 12 to six, with tighter criteria around when the clubs are allowed to use them.
The permits will now only be granted for special events, and ordinarily at most once per month.
‘We need licensed venues to step up’
The lockout laws were the second round of liquor laws due to come into effect to combat alcohol-fuelled violence in Queensland.
They were to follow rules that came into effect in July last year, which also banned rapid consumption drinks like shooters, shots, and drinks containing more than 45ml of spirits.
Cabinet on Monday considered a report into the effectiveness of the measures already in place.
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said the new laws had been “gamed” by some venues, meaning the laws’ impact could not be accurately judged.
“[The permits] have been used by some venues to ensure they had continuous trade … to the point that they were openly advertising that they were continuing to trade until 5:00am and thumbing their nose at these laws,” Ms D’Ath said.
“We are continuing to see a decline in alcohol-fuelled violence, but not the rapid decrease that we hoped to see as a consequence of the 3:00am and 2:00am liquor hours.
“We know from all the evidence, both nationally and internationally, that reducing the hours of service and alcohol is the most important initiative that achieves the best results.”
Ms D’Ath said the laws would be assessed again in early 2018.
“We want to ensure that we can assess it properly and determine whether it is achieving the results we want, but we need the licensed venues to step up and work with us,” she said.