Queensland will be a safer and more fun place for families with the Government delivering on its strong plan to end senseless deaths and alcohol and drug-related violence by introducing the country’s most comprehensive strategy in Parliament today.
Premier Campbell Newman said the Government’s comprehensive Safe Night Out Strategy included tougher penalties for violent behaviour and drug use, increased powers and resources for authorities and local communities and compulsory education for Queensland children.
“The violence has to stop. Too many Queensland families have suffered from the devastating and tragic effects of “coward punches” and other violent and anti-social behaviour,” Mr Newman said.
“We want our kids and their friends to be able to go out and have fun without fear and this plan will allow for that.
“The Safe Night Out Strategy is the most comprehensive plan of its kind in the country. We have listened to Queenslanders and the experts and our carefully considered plan tackles the problem of alcohol and drug related violence from all angles.
“It is about getting Queenslanders involved in changing the culture, restoring responsibility and ensuring bad behaviour is no longer tolerated.
“The Safe Night Out Strategy includes more than 60 initiatives that are all designed to change the punch drunk culture that has developed in Queensland and prevent further deaths and violence.
“We promised Queenslanders that we would revitalise frontline services, build a four pillar economy and make this state the safest place to raise a family and this strategy is the Government’s strong plan to deliver that.”
Key elements of the strategy include:
- Compulsory drug and alcohol education in Queensland schools from Years 7 to 12
- Establishing 15 Safe Night Precincts across Queensland to ensure popular nightspots have coordinated prevention and support initiatives in place to keep patrons safe
- A new offence of “unlawful striking causing death”, which will carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and require the offender to serve 80 per cent of his or her prison sentence
- Increased penalties for other violent and antisocial offences such as serious assault of public officers, public nuisance, refusing to leave a licensed premises, obstructing police, failing to obey a move-on order and urinating in public
- 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
- Giving local Councils the right to veto Adult Entertainment license applications.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie said the strategy was the result of extensive consultation with Queenslanders.
“More than 13,000 Queenslanders had their say and I thank them for their contribution. Their feedback formed the foundation of these revolutionary reforms,” Mr Bleijie said.
“The Strategy has been backed by $44.5 million funding injection in this year’s State Budget.
“The Government is committed to the preservation of our diverse and vibrant nightlife.
“The overwhelming majority of Queenslanders do the right thing when they go out and the Government wants people to be safe and enjoy themselves.
“The Safe Night Out Strategy is all about protecting Queenslanders and all that is great in our wonderful nightlife.”