NOT HAPPY: Safe Night Airlie Beach CBD Precinct secretary Jasmin Lear, Mama Africa Bar and Niteclub owner Stacey Harvey, Airlie Beach Hotel owner Mark Bell, Our Nightlife Queensland’s Trent Meade and Nick Braban and Down Under Bar’s Tim Langford discuss the state government’s proposed 1am lockout laws.
NOT HAPPY: Safe Night Airlie Beach CBD Precinct secretary Jasmin Lear, Mama Africa Bar and Niteclub owner Stacey Harvey, Airlie Beach Hotel owner Mark Bell, Our Nightlife Queensland’s Trent Meade and Nick Braban and Down Under Bar’s Tim Langford discuss the state government’s proposed 1am lockout laws.

Lockout rejected

THE State Government's proposed changes to lockout laws have been slammed by the local hospitality industry.

The government is proposing a 1am lockout and 3am shutdowns for nightclubs, plus a midnight ban on the sale of shots, cocktails and neat drinks.

Local businesspeople met with representatives from industry body Our Nightlife Queensland on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the proposed changes.

Mama Africa nightclub owner Stacey Harvey, who has been in the industry for 14 years, said the changes would have a "knock-on effect" on the local economy.

"In a small community like this, the margins aren't great in food and beverages and hospitality in general, so any reduction in trading hours is going to have an impact on the bottom line and it's not just my trading hours that'll be impacted," she said.

"If people change their habits and go out earlier, they'll finish up at restaurants earlier, go to the live music venues earlier and not stay out as long, so everyone's trading hours become affected."

The general feeling was that the former LNP Government's Safe Night Out legislation was working and that the new changes were unnecessary and would cost jobs.

In the Whitsundays alone, Our Nightlife Queensland estimates the proposed lockout law changes will put up to 720 jobs at risk, end in the closure of local small businesses and result in the loss of $9.2m annually to the Whitsundays economy.

Our Nightlife Queensland's Nick Braban said the industry was happy with the current laws.

He said there had been a 23.5 per cent reduction in assaults and 123 banning notices issued since last year's introduction of the Safe Night Precinct in Airlie Beach.

Down Under Bar manager Tim Langford said he felt the government's proposed changes were "a reactive response".

"I understand there's a public concern to deal with alcohol-related violence - I agree - but there's simple, proactive measures that can be made instead of these reactive knee-jerk responses which don't solve anything," Mr Langford said.


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