The Queensland government has released a new plan, ‘Safe Night Out’, to help tackle alcohol-fuelled violence.
In response to public outcry about current punishments for alcohol-fuelled violence the state government has prepared a draft strategy to better combat late-night misbehaviour.
Premier Campbell Newman has introduced the draft ‘Safe Night Out’ strategy which will see safety precincts developed and compulsory alcohol and drug education introduced state-wide in high schools.
The 15 new Safe Night Precincts will be established to manage key entertainment areas across Queensland and tougher penalties will be introduced for alcohol-related violent crimes such as ‘coward punches’.
“A safe night out is a great night out,” says Newman. “We want both locals and tourists to be able to go out on a Friday or Saturday night and have a great time without it being ruined by the bad behaviour of violent and aggressive drunks.”
Coward punch deaths will be punishable through a new offence of unlawful striking causing death with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, and public nuisance offences, refusing to leave licensed premises and obstructing police will all incur on-the-spot fines.
“This comprehensive plan targets troublemakers and makes them accountable for their actions, while still ensuring the vast majority who do the right thing can have a good time and enjoy themselves safely.”
Additionally the education and awareness programs, including a new advertising campaign, will attempt to curb the irresponsible behaviour before it begins.
“Young people need to know what sort of behaviour is expected of them when they reach drinking age,” says Newman. “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 respect, and to ensure bad behaviour is no longer tolerated.”
The strategy was developed following consultation with Queenslanders including an online survey that attracted more than 12,000 responses.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie says this process was crucial to developing an effective solution that the community could stand behind.
“This is a comprehensive plan for change. It’s about protection, policing and prevention,” he says. “We now want to hear from the community about their thoughts on the draft Safe Night Out Strategy.”
The draft plan is open for comment for four weeks and the final plan will be reviewed again a year’s time.