Major drop in alcohol-fuelled violence shows new laws are working

JOINT STATEMENT

The Palaszczuk Government has today released its response to the independent evaluation of the Government’s Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence policy (TAFV) which will further strengthen safety measures for Queensland patrons.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said reducing violence in late night venues has been a commitment of the Palaszczuk Government and we have introduced a raft of measures since 2015.

“The safety of Queenslanders is our top priority,” the Premier said.

“The report shows there’s been a 49% drop in the number of serious assaults between 3am and 6am on Friday and Saturday nights across Queensland.

“Significantly, there’s been a 52% reduction in these assaults in one of the state’s most popular precincts – Fortitude Valley.”

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said the research looked at three-year trends from July 2016 to June 2019.

“It was positive to see the average number of monthly ambulance call-outs during these early morning hours reduced by 21% in Surfers Paradise,” the Attorney said.

“Importantly, the report also found these proactive measures have not had an adverse impact on businesses, and there’s no evidence violence has shifted to venues outside of safe night areas.

“As part of the response a dozen extra officers were brought on to conduct compliance and investigations at licensed premises across the state.

“These highly visible officers are working to ensure licensed venues are doing their bit to keep Queenslanders safe.”

A number of recommendations from the evaluation have already been implemented such as allowing the use of pass outs for patrons who have already had their ID scanned on entry, as well as the reduction of days that mandatory ID scanning is required for venues closing before 1am.

Some of the accepted recommendations include:

  • Work to ensure lists of banned patrons will be available to all venues that operate after midnight.
  • A continued commitment to best practice advertising and communication campaigns aimed at reducing risky alcohol consumption.
  • A comprehensive independent review of Alcohol and Drug safety education in schools.
  • Continued focus to implement initiatives that promote safe behaviour and attitudes in venues.

“Additionally, I am pleased to announce $500,000 in grant funding is now open to support safe night precinct boards to ensure Queenslanders can enjoy a night out without feeling threatened or uncomfortable.

“These grants will be available to fund safety initiatives including roving security services and taxi marshals, which improve safety in and around licensed venues.”

The Safe Night Precinct Grant Funding Program will open on 25 May and close 24 June 2022.

The impacts of COVID-19 on hospitality businesses were significant and far-reaching in terms of trade, staffing, and patronage.

“We are pleased to have been able to strike a balance between reducing alcohol-related harm and the need to ease the regulatory burden on hospitality and tourism businesses,” Minister Fentiman said.

Key findings of the TAFV evaluation:

  • 49% decrease in the number of serious assaults between 3am and 6am on Friday/Saturday state wide
  • 52% decrease in serious assaults in Fortitude Valley between 3am and 6am on Friday/Saturday, and a 43% reduction in Toowoomba
  • the average number of monthly ambulance call-outs during high alcohol hours reduced by 26% in Fortitude Valley, and 21% in Surfers Paradise

Government response to the TAFV evaluation is online: https://www.publications.qld.gov.au/dataset/quantem-report

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