Queensland’s premier says closing licensed venues earlier isn’t part of his alcohol reforms because they are about safety, not halting fun.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says he won’t change pub and club trading hours because people should be able to “let their hair down and party”.
Queensland’s government on Sunday released its draft plan to tackle alcohol-related and drug-related violence.
The reforms are aimed at stamping out night-life violence, including setting up 15 “safe night precincts” across the state.
But the opposition criticised the proposal for not reviewing trading hours for pubs and clubs.
Queensland Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the new laws won’t work without action on hours. She said Newcastle in NSW had experienced a 33 per cent reduction in alcohol-related violence since restricting trading hours.
Mr Newman said closing licensed venues earlier wasn’t part of his reforms because the reforms were about safety, not halting fun.
“We’re saying this is a place where people should be able to let their hair down,” he told reporters on the Gold Coast.
“It should be a place to party and you don’t do that by saying that you’re going to shut the place down.
“There are many places overseas that have even more liberal drinking hours than Australia and they manage to do it far better than we do in this country.
“That’s what we should be aiming at, to change the behaviour.”
Councils are supporting the government’s plans, which would set up local boards to run the “safe night precincts”.
“This approach reflects a commitment to further empowering local councils to create safe and supportive environments for their communities,” Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) president Margaret de Wit said in a statement.
“Under the action plan, councils will have greater say on applications for extended liquor trading hours and adult entertainment permits, a proposal which has been supported by local government and the LGAQ for some time.”