The government moratorium on late-night trading hours is due be lifted at the end of the month. Photo: Andrew Quilty
More pubs, as well as RSLs and suburban community clubs, may be able to apply to trade past midnight with the moratorium on trading hours due to be lifted at the end of the month.
The Legal Affairs and Community Safety parliamentary committee has approved the Safe Night Out legislation and Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said he envisioned an end to the moratorium, which was put in place by the Labor government in September 2009.
It means that more licensees will be soon be able to apply to trade past midnight.
“Once the moratorium lifts, they will then apply for new licences under the normal provisions, as you would expect with any liquor licences,” Mr Bleijie said.
“...Part of the government’s strategy for the safe night out was of course listening and consultation, so the new strategy will be in place by the time the moratorium ends, and then any trader that wants to trade past midnight will go through the normal licensing provision as applied at the time and I suspect traders will re-apply for those extended trading hours, if they so wish, but it will be guided under the new laws.”
The legistlation, a government resposne to alcohol-fuelled violence, was endorsed by the parliamentary committee.
But the comittee asked for some clarifications on issues such as how many health professionals would be available at any one time in the government’s "sober safe centres", which are also referred to as "drunk tanks".
It also asked for clarification on the provisions relating to the drug and alcohol assessment and referral courses, which will be part of bail conditions, for those charged over alcholo-fuelled violence in regional and rural communities.
Mr Bleijie said he would examine the committee's report, but did not commit to accepting any of the recommendations.
“We haven’t debated the laws in parliament yet, but as the case has been with all of this, we have listened,” he said.
“We have listened along the way, we have adjusted the plan, after listening to Queenslanders, so I will have a look at the report now, before we debate it.”
That debate is expected to take place in next week’s parliamentary sitting, to give the laws time to be passed before the end of the moratorium.
But Labor, which has advocated a lock-out and "last drinks" policy, said the government was not going far enough.
Shadow attorney-general Yvette D’Ath said her party’s policy was made “on the basis of expert advice”.
“If you want to tackle alcohol fuelled violence, you must tackle trading hours,” she said.
“You can’t say that you are going to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence at the same time as lifting the moratorium, which is what the Newman government has said they will do and allow trading beyond 3am.
“At the end of the day, if people have not had enough to drink by 3am, when have they had enough?”
The government has stood by its policy, with Mr Newman saying he was determined not to punish the majority of entertainment district dwellers for the “bad behaviour” of a few.