A high-level roundtable discussion has taken place this week with a focus on the safety of women in Queensland’s licenced venues.

Stakeholders from the liquor and entertainment industry, community groups and government came together at a roundtable event which took place in Brisbane on Tuesday.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence Shannon Fentiman said the roundtable was an important step to better understand and respond to the issue of women’s safety at licensed venues across the state.

Almost one in three patrons have reported experiences of unwanted sexual attention in and around licensed venues in some of Queensland’s busier night-time precincts, according to Minister Fentiman.

“The Palaszczuk Government has been firm in its commitment to eliminate all forms of violence from our communities and ensuring the safety of women on a night out is an important part of that,” Minister Fentiman said.

“Sexual assault, harassment and other unwanted advances happen to women every day and it is everyone’s responsibility to work together to put a stop to it wherever it occurs.”

According to Minister Fentiman, some great work was already underway in the sector to foster respectful behaviour and ensure Queensland’s bars, pubs and clubs are safe and welcoming places for women.

“Today’s roundtable builds on that work to find practical solutions that create lasting change to ensure women are kept safe on a night out.”

President of the Townsville Liquor Accord Arthur McMahon said it was important everyone was on board to promote safer venues.

“We need to challenge outdated cultural norms and work together across industry, government and with the community sector to bring around the change that is needed.” 

McMahon said there needs to be clear and consistent messaging for patrons about making unwanted remarks, advances or worse towards women, whether they be staff or guests, to let them know that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

“It’s important too that people know there is help out there and have clear and easy access to information on who to contact and how,” McMahon said.

“I’m proud to say that venues in Townsville are on board and taking action already, with initiatives rolling out across the Townsville area to address women’s safety and ensure patrons can enjoy a relaxed night out where they feel safe and welcome.”

Roundtable participants agreed to continue to work collaboratively to shape stronger responses to women’s safety and take practical and meaningful steps to create real change across the industry.

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