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    Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill

    I took to the floor of the House last night to oppose the Government’s Bill and I did so for a number of reasons. I appreciate that not everyone will agree with my decision and how I cast my vote but I wanted to take the opportunity to explain my reservations about the government’s proposal.

    We have an obligation to get this right for all of Queensland. I don’t believe that draconian, nanny state laws at the panacea to the complex issues. I accept there are some in our community who have problem with violence. I accept there is a problem with alcohol consumption for some people in our community and I’m also very concerned about the use of illicit drugs and the impact this has on entertainment precincts across Queensland – I’m particularly disappointed the government has done nothing to consider how we tackle the scourge of drugs particularly in our entertainment precincts.

    All 89 MPs from across Queensland are committed to safer communities and safer streets we just have different opinions about how we get there.

    A significant concern I have is displacement of violence. Our entertainment precincts are best placed to manage the potential fallout from excessive alcohol consumption, illicit drug use and violence. Hardworking Queensland Police Service Officers, amazing Queensland Ambulance Service Officers, properly trained security guards and wonderful Chaplaincy volunteers serve our entertainment precincts across the state. There was significant evidence provided to the Parliamentary Committee that indicated that the imposition of a ban on shots, the one-way door and the lockout would merely serve to redirect excessive drinking to the suburbs. I’m sure all would agree, the last thing we need are more out of control parties in our suburbs. The lockout and mandatory closing time also raise questions about public transport measures and how people get home – in regional centres that have entertainment precincts they simply don’t have the public transport options or number of active taxi licenses we do on the Gold Coast or in Brisbane.

    I’m concerned nothing in the government’s legislation tackles pre-loading. Griffith University research done on the Gold Coast shows the vast majority of partygoers are entering entertainment precincts already intoxicated. This is why an education regime in our high schools is so critically important. I am also concerned about the inconsistencies in the legislation – I simply do not understand the rationale that excludes suburban taverns and the casinos. At 1:01am on a Sunday morning in Broadbeach you would be refused entry but not at Coolangatta or Varsity Lakes. Nowhere in its regime is the government talking about culture change.

    The government relies on the measures in Newcastle as proof their measures will work. In Wollongong, a city without lockouts and in the same period, there was a decrease in assaults of 35% compared to the 25% seen in Newcastle; at the same time the reduction in Campbelltown was more than 40%.

    When we were in government the LNP introduced a suite of evidence-based reforms that included a new offence with respect to striking, harsher penalties for anti-social behaviour, mandatory ID scanning, more services and support within entertainment precincts and a real focus on an education package.

    The government’s legislation is a quick fix; band aid solution that I genuinely do not believe will make our entertainment precincts safer. As Members of Parliament we have an obligation to get this right for all Queenslanders so that everyone can have a safe night out and a good night out.