Govt steps in to stop fights at licensed venues
PROPOSED laws to curb violence fuelled by alcohol may soon mean much tougher sentences for people on the Fraser Coast who cause a public nuisance or refuse to leave a licensed venue.
The Safe Night Out draft strategy, released by the Queensland Government earlier this week, could also give judges and magistrates the power to ban people from licensed venues for life.
Fraser Coast venue owners and patrons have until April 21 to have their say on the strategy before the government formally adopts some of the regulations.
Carriers Arms Hotel and Beach House Hotel general manager Gary Gilbert said he would make a submission arguing for venues to be treated on a case by case basis when attempting to change their liquor licensing.
He said an application was being considered to extend licensing hours at the Beach House Hotel past midnight to allow for special events.
However, a moratorium is still in place on all applications to extend licensing hours between midnight and 5am.
The Safe Night Out strategy would mean an extension of that moratorium and would put more responsibility on venues trading in those hours.
Mr Gilbert said venues that worked to minimise violence issues and rarely had problems should not be restricted.
"They're taking a blanket approach and not looking at the individual problems," he said.
"You don't need to look at the whole industry."
He said violence at licensed venues was a minimal problem in Hervey Bay and Maryborough, but was still present.
"95% of our patrons are never going to be a problem," he said.
"It is an issue that can and will happen anywhere. I think it is a bigger societal problem."
Hoolihans Hervey Bay owner Tamara Meek also said violence had never been a problem for the venue.
She said efforts to make the bar and restaurant a place for families helped to prevent violence.