By Andy Young
With just one month to go until Queensland's parliamentary legal affairs and community safety committee reports to the state's parliament on the government's lockout legislation, hotel operators are stepping up their resistance to the laws.
The new rules will introduce a 1am lockout and 3am last drinks, but last weekend the state government announced a stricter 2am last-drinks policy.
Queensland publicans have expressed doubts about the effectiveness of the laws, saying they will simply push the problems into other areas.
Fortitude Valley club owner Louis Bickle told Fairfax Media: "There is no violence in Kings Cross in Sydney any more but the is no one there, it's a ghost town; prohibition never works. Young people have to go out and they are going out later at night. The safest place is actually inside a premise, so if we have to close down and take that security blanket away, then the young people will just go somewhere else.
Fellow venue owner and former chairman of The Valley Liquor Accord, Les Pullos agreed that much of the violence occurred in public and not inside clubs. "This issue that has come up again is a cultural one," Pullos said. "Closing down the hotels is not going to change that culture."
Queensland's attorney-general Yvette D'Ath, told Fairfax Media that the new rules were needed in order to reduce assaults.
"We believe these are sensible changes that will see a reduction in the number of assaults that we have," D'Ath said.
"The evidence shows that when you reduce the number of hours that alcohol is sold you do see a reduction in those assaults and that has to be our priority."
The parliamentary legal affairs and community safety committee is currently examining the government's legislation and is due to report back to Parliament on February 8.