05 Aug 2019

Casinos to remain exempt from ID scanning laws to help make Brisbane 'new world city'

Casinos will not have trading hour restrictions and will continue to be exempt from mandatory ID scanners as the Palaszczuk Government rejects some of the recommendations made by an in-depth examination of Queensland's contentious laws for pubs and clubs.

The laws, which banned shots after midnight and introduced mandatory ID scanning at venues in designated Safe Night Precincts, were introduced in 2016 to combat alcohol-fuelled violence in Queensland.

Despite the probe finding the exclusion of casinos would potentially undermine the impact of the policy, the Government rejected ten of the 1,000-page report's recommendations.

The decision to remove casinos from the laws was because it would be "inconsistent with plans for creating a new world city for Brisbane, the intent of the development of Queen's Wharf", according to the Government response.

The review's lead author Professor Peter Miller from Deakin University said violence at casinos, the use of illicit drugs, and pre-drinking needed to be addressed

"Casinos are a major problem for communities in Queensland in terms of intoxication and assault," he said.

"[Most] casinos represented a disproportionate level of assaults, particularly in Brisbane CBD. However they are subject to special rules and the Government feels that by having further discussions with them that they are going to improve their practice as well."

"Preloading is [also] a wicked problem.

"I've made recommendations about trialling things like sponsoring live music early to get people to come in but honestly we'd be open to ideas."

Caxton Street and Ipswich to go ID scanner free

Parts of the scheme will now be scaled back with the Government scrapping compulsory ID scanning at key venues in Brisbane and relaxing scanning hours at several other pubs and clubs across the state.

Professor Miller said their research found there had been no deaths in a nightclub precinct since 2016 and a 29 per cent drop in serious early morning assaults.

"It's not all good news but there is some really promising news in the findings," he said.

"We've been seeing significant reductions in serious assaults across the night, we've seen promising results in ambulance callouts and hospital admissions."

Under the changes the Government has accepted from the report, venues in inner-west Brisbane, including Caxton Street, and those in Ipswich will be removed from the Safe Night Precinct program — meaning businesses there will be exempt from ID scanning but only if they close before 2am

"There are some relaxations recommended because there are obvious areas where the laws are not required to be as strict as they are in terms of ID scanning and I think there was some teething problems there," Professor Miller said.

"They're effective in some spots. There are also a lot of areas where we haven't seen substantial improvement and Queensland's levels of intoxication and alcohol-related harm remain some of the highest in the country and even in international comparison."

Five community clubs and RSLs in the Safe Night Precinct program in Bundaberg, Caloundra, Maroochydore, Toowoomba and Townsville won't be forced to scan IDs anymore as they already have ID checks in place.

Casinos 'separate entity' to nightclubs, says MP

Mines Minister Anthony Lynham, a maxillofacial surgeon and a key driver of laws to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence, said he was happy with the results of the review.

"Brisbane now is a vibrant city and the evidence has shown we have an increasing number of venues in our nightlife precinct and it's also shown it's much safer," he said.

Dr Lynham described casinos as another "kettle of fish".

"There is further work to be done with casinos. The minister responsible Kate Jones and the Attorney-General will be having further discussions with casinos," he said.

"But the casinos have extremely strict policy and security that no nightclub or precinct could have so they are a separate entity."

SOURCE ; https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-26/queensland-id-scanning-liquor-law-review/11348670

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