Australia’s most comprehensive action plan to stamp out alcohol and drug related violence will be supported by a $44.5 million funding injection in today’s State Budget.
Premier Campbell Newman said the 2014-15 State Budget continued the commitment to revitalising front line services and keeping Queenslanders safe as part of the Government’s strong plan for a brighter future.
“We have all seen the devastating and often tragic effects of ‘coward punches’ – not just in our state but across the nation,” Mr Newman said.
“After consulting Queenslanders, we have developed a ‘Safe Night Out Strategy’ as we are determined to ensure Queensland is the safest place in Australia for people to go out and enjoy themselves.
“A safe night out is a great night out.”
Key elements of the Safe Night Out Strategy include:
- Changing the culture – by conducting awareness campaigns to promote responsible behaviour and by making school based alcohol and drug education programs available every year, to every Queensland student in years 7 to 12
- Changing the law – by increasing police powers, licensing and penalties including mandatory community service orders and compulsory alcohol and drug counselling to make it clear bad behaviour won’t be tolerated
- Changing the environment – providing safe and supportive spaces through initiatives such as the establishment of up to 15 Safe Night Out Precincts across Queensland, a trial of ‘sober safe centres’ in the Brisbane CBD and improved transport arrangements.
Mr Newman said the State Budget included $29.1 million in new funding and $15.4 million from existing Departmental resources to support the ‘Safe Night Out Strategy’ over the next four years.
“The 2014/15 State Budget carefully balances increases in spending for front line services, while not introducing or raising any new taxes or reducing services,” he said.
“The new ‘Safe Night Out Strategy’ funding will be used for a range of initiatives including additional liquor licensing inspectors, the establishment of Safe Night Out Precincts, support services, awareness campaigns and a trial of sober safe centres.
“Safe Night Out Precinct boards will be able to apply for grants from an $8 million funding pool for projects that best meet their local needs – whether that be for improved lighting, more toilets, CCTV cameras or extra support services.”
Mr Newman said the funding in the Budget for the ‘Safe Night Out Strategy’ would be supported by new laws that would be introduced into the Parliament later this week.
“This comprehensive plan makes troublemakers accountable for their actions, while still ensuring those who do the right thing can go out and have a good time in a safe environment,” he said.
Mr Newman said the Safe Night Out Strategy was developed after months of consultation with Queenslanders including an online survey that attracted more than 12,000 responses.
“We have taken the time to listen to Queenslanders and now we are acting,” Mr Newman said.
“Just as the culture around drink driving has changed, so too must community attitudes to excessive drinking and drug use.
“We are calling on all Queenslanders to get involved to change the culture, to restore responsibility and to ensure bad behaviour is no longer tolerated.
“We promised to make Queensland a safe place to live and raise a family, and that’s exactly what we’re doing through strong plans like our Safe Night Out Strategy.”
A copy of the draft ‘Safe Night Out Strategy’ is available at www.qld.gov.au/safenightout
The final ‘Safe Night Out Strategy’ will be released later this week when new laws supporting the plan are introduced into Parliament.