Gold Coast part of Government’s ‘Safe Night Out Strategy’

24 Mar 2014 4:44 PMJann Stuckey

24 March 2014

Drunk or drug affected people in the Gold Coast‘s party precinct who start fights or break the law will face firmer penalties under the Safe Night Out Strategy released by the State LNP Government yesterday.

The Gold Coast is one of fifteen areas that has been named a ‘Safe Night Precinct’ under the 12 month trial by the Newman Government aimed at reducing drug and alcohol fuelled violence.

Member for Currumbin, Jann Stuckey MP said the Safe Night Out Strategy will focus on those who commit the crime rather than those wanting to have a great safe night out in the Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise CBD.

“Most Queenslanders drink responsibly, but the actions of an irresponsible minority who are behaving badly means that alcohol and drug-related violence is ruining things for everyone,” Ms Stuckey.

“We have put together the most comprehensive plan in Australia to tackle alcohol-related violence, and we want to hear what Queenslanders think about what is being proposed, to make sure we have it right.

“The draft Action Plan is being released for public consultation for one month until Monday, 21 April 2014.” 

Key elements of the draft Safe Night Out 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
  • 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.

 

Premier Campbell Newman said education and awareness campaigns both within schools and the wider community were crucial to promote the importance of responsible behaviour.

“Young people need to know what sort of behaviour is expected of them when they reach drinking age,” Mr Newman said.

“Just as the culture around drink driving has changed, so too must community attitudes to excessive drinking and drug use.”

The draft Safe Night Out Strategy was developed following months of consultation with Queenslanders including an online survey that attracted more than 12,000 responses.

“Rather than having a knee jerk reaction to this complex issue, we have taken the time to listen to Queenslanders’ views,” Mr Newman said.

“We now want to hear from the community about their thoughts on the draft Safe Night Out Strategy.”

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

[ENDS] 24 March 2014