BYRNE REPEATS CALL FOR LNP TO ACT ON ALCOHOL-FUELLED VIOLENCE
Evidence from Sydney is further proof that Labor’s policy to reduce trading hours in Queensland’s pubs and night clubs will lead to a fall in the incidence of alcohol-related violence, says Shadow Police Minister, Bill Byrne.
Responding to news of a 50% drop in injuries from alcohol-fuelled violence since the New South Wales government introduced a 1.30am lockout and 3am stop on the service of alcohol in February 2014, Mr Byrne once again called upon Campbell Newman to bury his pride and act now to protect vulnerable young Queenslanders.
“Late last year the Newman Government’s own review recommended reduced trading hours and we know a number of Ministers have said they favour a reduction in the availability of alcohol through a reduction of trading hours.
“We are calling for a 1pm lockout, a 3am end to serving alcohol, and venues closing at 5am because we have listened to Queenslanders and taken notice of the hard-evidence and expert opinion on this crucial issue,” said Mr Byrne.
“Now, just six months after the NSW government cut trading hours in Sydney’s notorious drinking precincts such as Kings Cross, St Vincent’s Hospital has reported that drunken attacks have halved.
“The evidence is irrefutable, but the Newman Government continues to pander to the vested interests of the industry. The Premier is more interested in protecting those vested interests and the financial interests of those who profit from the mayhem than he is in protecting young Queenslanders.
“In a written answer to a question from me, the Premier has all but confirmed that a reduction in trading hours will be implemented across Queensland by the LNP, but only after the election.
“The Police Union President Ian Leavers wrote in the May Police Union Journal ‘There is a commitment from the Premier to review the strategy after 12 months and if necessary at that point, reduced trading hours would obviously be back on the table’.
“The Premier answered my question by saying ‘Such initiatives include empowering the Commissioner for Liquor and Gaming to enforce precinct wide conditioning to prevent and manage alcohol and drug-related violence, which could include lock-outs’
“He went on and stated: ‘The Government is committed to addressing alcohol and drug related violence in Queensland. Reducing trading hours would penalise the majority of participants in Queensland’s nightlife – including responsible hospitality workers, business owners and patrons – for the poor behaviour of a minority. However, if following review of the Strategy it is evident that further measures are necessary then this Government will consider further options.’
“The Premier must be aware that if he is stalling for 12 months just so the LNP can accept secret donations of up to $12,400 each from those against cutting trading hours, his tactics will be exposed when a future Labor Government requires retrospective declarations of donations over $1,000.
“If he wants to keep his promise to the Police Union let him do it now.
“The tragedy is that even if the LNP eventually accepts the evidence and cuts drinking hours, in the interim emergency departments throughout Queensland’s towns and cities will continue to be clogged with victims of sickening violence.”