By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier
The Newman Government’s Safe Night Out Strategy recognises that there is no “quick fix” for alcohol and drug-related violence, Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said this week.
The inaugural Brisbane Liquor Accords Conference (BLAC) took place yesterday at QUT Gardens Point, bringing together over 120 stakeholders from industry, police, government and community groups.
Attorney-General Bleijie told participants that the draft Safe Night Out Strategy, which was released in March, recognises that alcohol and drug-related violence is “a complex issue for which there is no one fix or quick fix”.
“We could have taken the much easier road, politically, of cutting back trading hours and ticking that off as having done something,” said Bleijie, in a veiled dig at his NSW Government counterparts.
In stark contrast to the hard line approach taken in NSW, the comprehensive suite of measures in the Safe Night Out Strategy were welcomed by the Queensland hospitality industry.
Also presenting at yesterday’s conference was Valley Liquor Accord (VLA) chairman Nick Braban, who said simply cutting trading hours ignores the complexity of the issues at hand.
“We don’t understand how anyone can assess risk solely on the basis of trading hours, when we all know that there are so many other factors that contribute to risk – including the type of premises, its capacity, the volume of liquor sold and, of course, how it’s managed,” he said.
Braban called for a review of the current ‘one size fits all’ fee structure for late trading premises, which he said encourage high volume alcohol sales rather than a more eclectic mix of smaller venues supporting live music and creative arts.
Fortitude Valley Community Safety Group Chair and event organiser Gordana Blazevic told TheShout the feedback on BLAC was “overwhelmingly positive”.
“It’s obvious that in Queensland there is a strong appetite for continuing the constructive collaborations that have been developed between industry, Government and community,” said Blazevic.
BLAC attendees included owners and managers of licensed venues, Queensland Police, Queensland Health, Brisbane City Council, Office of Liquor & Gaming Regulation, and community stakeholders including representatives of ChaplainWatch and DrugArm.