The McGowan Government will introduce new laws to enhance safety in Western Australia’s popular entertainment precincts by banning perpetrators of violent or threatening behaviour.
The new laws aim to protect people going out for a good time, creating safer precincts for everyone, and conversely take a tough, no-tolerance approach to those who do the wrong thing.
Following advice from WA Police, indicative boundaries have been created for five precincts, including: Northbridge-Perth, Fremantle, Scarborough, Hillarys and Mandurah.
Protected Entertainment Precincts (PEP) are named in honour of Giuseppe “Pep” Raco, the victim of an unprovoked one-punch attack in Northbridge in July 2020.
The McGowan Government started developing the Bill following a popular campaign from the Raco family to strengthen laws around violent offences in entertainment precincts.
Mandatory exclusion from these areas will apply to anyone convicted of various violent and sexual offences, such as murder, sexual penetration without consent and unlawful assault causing death, along with drink spiking offences, for a period of five years after they are released from prison. Breaches of this exclusion face a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and a $12,000 fine.
Police can also issue an order to exclude someone for up to six months, and further apply for an order of up to five years.
Exclusion orders can apply when:
- a person behaves in an unlawful, antisocial, disorderly, offensive, indecent and threatening way in a precinct; and
- the person being in the precinct could cause violence or public disorder or impact the safety of others.
The penalty for breaching short-term and extended exclusion orders is up to two years imprisonment, and a fine of $12,000.
Exemptions to exclusion from the precincts will apply for work, residential, education, health and other approved purposes.
Consultation will begin with stakeholders to refine the precinct boundaries ahead of the Liquor Control Amendment (Protected Entertainment Precincts) Bill 2022 being introduced to Parliament next month.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“Protected Entertainment Precincts are about reducing violent and thug behaviour in our popular precincts, creating safer, more vibrant entertainment and nightlife areas for everyone.
“Everyone deserves to be able to enjoy a night out free from harm or threatening behaviour, and workers in entertainment precincts should also be able to safely go about their business.
“I thank Enza and the Raco family for their commitment to campaigning to strengthen our laws and for working with us as we strive to achieve these significant reforms.”
As stated by Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti:
“It’s been humbling to work with the Raco family to shape this legislation – their strength, patience and determination has been admirable.
“Anyone going out to party or enjoy nightlife should be able to return home to their loved ones safely – these laws are about adding a layer of comfort to those doing the right thing.
“The hospitality offerings within these precincts can match it with the best in the world in terms of quality, service and creativity – we want to maximise their visitation and minimise harm.
“Establishing Protected Entertainment Precincts will improve safety, creating a positive and relaxed atmosphere which will encourage more people to go out and enjoy all that is on offer.”
As stated by Police Minister Paul Papalia:
“We already have more police in our entertainment precincts than ever before.
“We have a new Commissioner who is delivering on his visible policing plan, flooding those areas with a sea of blue.
“This new law provides our officers with another tool to continue the crack down on anti-social behaviour.”