By James Atkinson

The Newman Government’s regulatory package aimed at tackling alcohol and drug related violence is “the most comprehensive and well thought out plan seen in Australia”, according to the Valley Liquor Accord (VLA), which represents licensees and other stakeholders in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley entertainment precint.

Premier Campbell Newman yesterday released the Queensland Government’s long anticipated draft Safe Night Out Strategy, which he said targets troublemakers and makes them accountable for their actions, "while still ensuring the vast majority who do the right thing can have a good time and enjoy themselves safely".

Key elements of the strategy include:

  • The establishment of 15 Safe Night Precincts with local boards to safely and effectively manage key entertainment areas across Queensland and continued funding of existing support services;
  • Compulsory alcohol and drug education would be introduced in all Queensland schools from Years 7 to 12;
  • Tougher penalties for people behaving badly or violently around licensed premises including increased on the spot fines for causing a public nuisance, refusing to leave licensed premises and obstructing police;
  • ‘Coward punch’ deaths will be punishable through a new offence of unlawful striking causing death with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and offenders required to serve 80% of their sentence before being able to apply for parole;
  • A 12 month trial of ‘sober safe centres’ in the Brisbane CBD where police can detain severely intoxicated people in a secure, supervised centre for up to eight hours;
  • Empowering police to issue banning orders and ensuring police have the resources to have a presence and ability to respond quickly to alcohol and drug related violence;
  • Stronger and better co-ordinated action to ensure licensees provide a safe environment and comply with liquor licensing rules, including ‘mystery shopper’ style tests;
  • Mandatory ID scanners in venues trading after midnight in ‘Safe Night Precincts’;
  • An awareness campaign, including advertising, to promote clear standards of responsible behaviour for patrons, licensees and police; and
  • An extension of the moratorium on decisions about late night trading hours to 31 August 2014 to allow the measures in the action plan to be established and take effect.

VLA Chair Nick Braban congratulated the government on tackling the issue with “the most comprehensive and well thought out plan seen in Australia”.

“There are points in the strategy we will need to see further detail about over the coming month, but we are fully confident of having a positive discourse with government on these points,” Braban said. 

The VLA also welcomed the renewed focus on personal responsibility. “We welcome tougher punishments for those who put both our safety and our livelihoods at risk,” Braban said.

A copy of the strategy is available at and will be open for public comment for four weeks, with the final plan subject to review in 12 months.

The Shout Team

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

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1 Comment

  1. New laws a positive step but…what about victims of these cowardly attacks who are not killed and have to spend years in rehabilitation and or may never recover. They and their families have to struggle with this for the rest of their days while the ?person who attacked them roams the streets to reoffend. New laws MUST go further. These cowards are potential murderers and must be treated as such.
    Education is not the complete answer to this dreadful problem. We all have the right to be safe.
    Severe penalties are the best deterrent and the only way to deal with this issue.

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