By Andrew Starke

The Queensland State Government will declare special Drink Safe Precincts (DSP) in key locations across the state under a $4.2 million plan to counter alcohol–related violence that will also target pubs and clubs.

The Government will legislate for new powers to ban people committing alcohol-related violence from the areas and it will become mandatory for pubs and clubs to offer free drinking water to patrons.

The use of ID scanners by clubs will also be supported under the plan.

Premier Anna Bligh said the pilot DPS would be run like major sporting events with coordinated policing, security and support services provided to deliver a safe environment for patrons.

“The first of these new precincts will be piloted in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, the Gold Coast and Townsville commencing in December 2010,” she said.

“The Queensland Government has already approved funding for the first 12 months but after this period an agreement will be reached with industry stakeholders so they can shoulder some of the cost of the measures along with the Queensland taxpayer.”

Minister responsible for liquor regulation Peter Lawlor said that the $4.2 million in funding allocated to the trial would also contribute to regular police crack downs on issues such as fake ID and drug use.

“Issues such as crowding, footpath queuing, traffic and better amenities will also be addressed,” he said.

“We want to run these precincts with the same amount of precision that we run large sporting events or concerts.”

The Minister said local DSP committees consisting of licensees, police officers, ambulance officers, transport providers, local government and community stakeholders would be established in September to indentify priority measures in the precinct areas on an ongoing basis.

However the Opposition said the Bligh Government’s crackdown on offered no immediate help for major centres across the State – ignoring Cairns, Mackay, Whitsunday, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba.

State Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek said the Bligh government was offering nothing to tackle serious alcohol-related problems in these centres and nothing to boost police resources to quell violence.

“Anna Bligh and her Police Minister seem to think if it doesn’t happen in the Valley, on the Gold Coast or Townsville it’s not an issue,” Langbroek said.


The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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