In this week’s instalment of citizen journalism Marcus Motteram, director of Melbourne’s F4 nightclub, blasts the Victorian Government for its proposed 2:00am lockout, saying more police — not restrictions — are what’s needed to curb alcohol-related crime.
“A 2:00am lock out in Melbourne seems completely mismatched with Melbourne City Council’s promotion of a 24-hour city. Melbourne has so much to offer with a diverse range of bars, clubs, live music venues, arts and fashion, but I believe the 2:00am lock out will severely hurt Melbourne.
Please consider the issue. The media in many forms has picked up the violence in the city issue and highlighted it to everyone. The public felt strongly something should be done, and have voiced their opinion, which has left the government wanting to curb violence in the city to appease them.
The best way to handle this is to put more police on the street late at night, especially on Friday and Saturday. This is something that licensees have been asking for long before the issue arose through the media. The reason this hasn’t been done is that it is expensive.
The government needs to look like they are taking the issue seriously, but they don’t want to spend the dollars. So they institute a lockout similar to ones in Bendigo. Bendigo is a good case in point, where violence has actually risen since the lockout began, as large numbers of people are pushed onto the street at 3:00am with nowhere to go. It has also meant the 5:00am venues have prospered with patrons leaving the earlier licensed venues to ensure they have the option of staying out.
Also in Melbourne the casino has got dispensation so that they can still accept patrons after the 2:00am lock out time… Why? Money! The government does very well out of taxing the casino’s profits. Strange, considering the Casino precinct has Melbourne’s highest crime rate as gaming venues attract desperate people who are more likely to engage in binge drinking and opportunistic crimes to recover gambling losses. So not only do we push Melbourne’s socialites out onto the street at 2:00am, we push them toward the casino to develop gambling habits.
The fact is this is a band-aid measure to show the government is doing something, when violence increases, and Melbourne’s nightlife reputation is muddied. What’s next? Can we expect more laws restricting people’s freedom to socialise in Melbourne’s CBD?”
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