Queensland Parliament Passes Bill to Cut Bars' Hours
The Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Amendment Bill passed shortly before 3 a.m. Feb. 18, "the time pubs and clubs will be forced to kick out patrons under the new legislation," Brisbane's Courier-Mail newspaper pointed out.
Annastacia Palaszczuk, premier of the Queensland state government in Australia, celebrated a campaign promised fulfilled Feb. 18 when the State Parliament passed her Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Amendment Bill at about 3 a.m. after a marathon debate, according to coverage in Australian newspapers. Palaszczuk issued a statement in which she called the bill a historic step forward:
"The evidence is clear: Reduced trading hours leads to reduced violence, and that's what this bill delivers," she said. "Doing nothing is not an option. I've spoken to countless doctors, nurses, paramedics, police, parents, and grandparents who have urged me to take action to curb alcohol-fueled violence. I want Queenslanders and visitors to our state to go out and enjoy our state's vibrant nightlife, but I also want them to return home safely to their families and loved ones."
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D'Ath said the new law means Queensland pubs and clubs will call last drinks at 2 a.m. across the state beginning on July 1. She said Safe Night Precincts – including in high-traffic areas such as Fortitude Valley, Surfers Paradise, Cairns, and Bundaberg – will call last drinks at 3 a.m., with a 1 a.m. lockout to be imposed beginning Feb. 1, 2017. "This is to allow Safe Night Precincts and venues time to transition to their preferred operating model for the precinct," D'Ath said. "We want to encourage safer precincts, which will in turn encourage more patronage. This is about putting the safety of our kids and all patrons first. It is about driving cultural change and we will continue to work with the community and stakeholders to deliver these important reforms."
D'Ath said the laws will be independently reviewed after two years, in July 2018.