State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman believe that a 2019 report shows the success of the Government’s Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence (TAFV) policy.

The statement, released on Wednesday, comes after an independent evaluation found that there had been significant drops in violence during weekend nights in certain areas.

“The report shows there’s been a 49 per cent drop in the number of serious assaults between 3am and 6am on Friday and Saturday nights across Queensland,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

“Significantly, there’s been a 52 per cent reduction in these assaults in one of the state’s most popular precincts – Fortitude Valley.”

The research, named QUANTEM (‘QUeensland Alcohol-related violence and Night Time Economy Monitoring’) was conducted over a three-year period, from July 2016 to June 2019, and looked at ambulance and police call-outs, ID scanner data, hospital admissions and the nature of injuries.

The evaluation team was led by Professor Peter Miller of Deakin University, alongside academics from the University of Queensland, James Cook University and La Trobe University.

First published in April 2019, the report was met with an interim response from the Queensland Government, that stated it was ‘vital that all relevant stakeholders have a reasonable opportunity to express their considered views before the Government finalises its position on particular measures.’

The interim response indicated that a final response ‘will be developed to reflect the outcomes of this further consideration and consultation’. It is likely that the COVID-19 pandemic and its affects upon the hospitality sector also delayed the production of a final response.

At the interim stage the Government’s tone appeared more cautious than Wednesday’s statement, with the first response reading: ‘There have been modest but promising reductions in some indicators of alcohol-related harm in night-time environments statewide’.

In particular, the report assessed the effectiveness of ‘Safe Night Precincts’ (SNPs) which require enhanced ID scanning by businesses at certain times, have tightened licensing regulations and promote initiatives to minimise harm and the potential for harm as a result of drinking.

SNPs are managed by local boards, which can provide extra funding to organisations that deliver support services such as patrols to identify and assist intoxicated persons, and rest and recovery spaces.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman believes the report shows that businesses were unaffected by the measures, and that the SNPs have been effective.

“Importantly, the report also found these proactive measures have not had an adverse impact on businesses, and there’s no evidence violence has shifted to venues outside of safe night areas.

“As part of the response a dozen extra officers were brought on to conduct compliance and investigations at licensed premises across the state,” Fentiman said.

“These highly visible officers are working to ensure licensed venues are doing their bit to keep Queenslanders safe.”

Fentiman also noted that these measures were having an impact beyond the Brisbane area.

“It was positive to see the average number of monthly ambulance call-outs during these early morning hours reduced by 21 per cent in Surfers Paradise,” the Attorney said.

The report also made a number of recommendations to the Queensland Government, some of which have been accepted, including:

  • Work to ensure lists of banned patrons will be available to all venues that operate after midnight.
  • A continued commitment to best practice advertising and communication campaigns aimed at reducing risky alcohol consumption.
  • A comprehensive independent review of Alcohol and Drug safety education in schools.
  • Continued focus to implement initiatives that promote safe behaviour and attitudes in venues.

Minister Fentiman said that as part of the Government’s response to the report, additional grant funding will be available to SNP boards.

“I am pleased to announce $500,000 in grant funding is now open to support safe night precinct boards to ensure Queenslanders can enjoy a night out without feeling threatened or uncomfortable,” Fentiman said.

“These grants will be available to fund safety initiatives including roving security services and taxi marshals, which improve safety in and around licensed venues.” 

The Safe Night Precinct Grant Funding Program will open on May 25 and close June 24 2022.

In the Government’s press statement, it acknowledged the on-going impact of the pandemic upon the hospitality trade, and that it had sought to be measured in its TAFV responses.

“We are pleased to have been able to strike a balance between reducing alcohol-related harm and the need to ease the regulatory burden on hospitality and tourism businesses,” Minister Fentiman concluded.

Information about SNP grants is available here.
The full QUANTEM report can be read here.
The final response of the Queensland Government can be accessed here.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *