Australia: Queensland lockouts begin: revenue down, violence up
By Stefanie Collins
With the first portion of Queensland’s new lockout laws coming into effect over the weekend, Queensland venues are reporting a staggering loss of revenue, while reports of alcohol fuelled violence were up despite an increased police presence.
According to data gathered by Triple J’s Hack program, pubs and clubs in Brisbane recorded a drop in business on Friday night of “17 per cent compared to the same weekend last year and 24 per cent on the week before”. While “data from five of Fortitude Valley’s biggest venues showed Saturday was no better, and business was down by 19 per cent on the same time last year”.
Emmanuel Bogiatzis, of the Heritage Exchange Hotel in Townsville, spoke to TheShout the day that the laws came into effect to discuss the impact the laws have already had on what is already a tough market.
While he agrees that a ban on rapid consumption beverages being sold after 12am is a “good thing”, it has to be noted that “any restriction on trading hours for any business small or big has an effect on our bottom line”.
“Staff hours will be reduce by 20-30 per week and we are only one venue, so multiply this by 10 – equal to the late night traders in our strip – and the loss of wages alone for a community already doing it tough is enormous, possibly 250-300 hours,” he says. “The real concern is the 1am lockout, that comes in to play on the 1st February 2017, could be devastating.
“Hoping customers will come to town earlier is a big ask, to change people’s habits overnight is unrealistic. Even more difficult times are ahead.”
In terms of violence, News.com.au is reporting that an organisation known as NightWatch Patrols, which is a volunteer group run by chaplains operating in the entertainment precincts, stated that it attended more incidents this weekend than the previous one.
Chris Owens of NightWatch Patrols told AAP that there was potential for even higher numbers of incidents once police patrol numbers dropped back to regular levels.
“On Friday we were up by only two jobs and on Saturday we were up five or six incidents,” said Owens. “There were boosted police numbers as well, so the amount of incidents may change once the police aren’t out in force.”
According to Hack, the Queensland Government is refusing to comment on the potential effectiveness of the laws as yet.
Queensland’s Attorney General, Yvette D’ath, stated: “We cannot measure the outcomes of these changes over one weekend. The Palaszczuk Government committed to a comprehensive review after two years in July, 2018.”