A civil libertarian says a plan to send drunk partygoers to the same place to sober up in Brisbane is ridiculous and a drain on resources.
Queensland partygoers who have one too many could be thrown into a drunk tank and forced to pay for the experience, even if they haven’t broken any laws.
Civil libertarians are furious about the Newman government’s plan, describing it as a gimmick to look tough on law and order.
A Sober Safe Centre will be opened in the Brisbane Magistrates Court’s cells on Friday and Saturday nights from October 3 as part of the state government’s Safe Night Out strategy.
In the 12-month, $900,000 trial, based on the NSW model, intoxicated revellers will be taken to the centre and then be billed for the experience.
The first visit will cost $227.70, which will increase by $113.85 for each return visit up to a maximum of $910.80.
“Effectively, you pay for the privilege of being taken there and being looked after,” Brisbane Central MP Robert Cavallucci told AAP.
Police officers and a nurse will be on hand at the centre to monitor and take care of drunken partygoers.
Mr Cavallucci, who chairs the strategy’s implementation panel, said police would use their discretion when sending people to the sober centre.
But he conceded people did not necessarily have to commit an offence, such as public nuisance, before being sent to the centre.
“They wouldn’t obviously be doing anything which would cause them to be charged under any particular offence, but you want to try to intervene so you don’t get to that point in time,” Mr Cavallucci said.
Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman described the plan to put a group of drunk people in one place as “ridiculous”.
He also opposed fining people who had not broken any laws, saying current police powers to advise drunk people to move along were sufficient.
“It’s a public order gimmick, a big drain on police resources, unnecessary and will impact on those who are homeless or those who gather in the street … because there is no adequate public transport to get them home,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“It won’t apply to the person who walks out of Tattersall’s Club legless and gets into his Bentley and drives to one of the smarter, leafier suburbs.”