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Brisbane’s Music Industry Reacts To QLD’s Lockout Laws

Lockout Laws RGs

The Queensland State Government today struck a deal with two crossbenchers that all but assures it’s proposed anti-violence lockout laws for clubs and bars will be passed. The laws mean from July 1 in Queensland last drinks will be restricted to 3:00am in designated “Safe Night Precincts (SNP)”, and 2:00am last drink outside SNP.

Under the deal with Katter’s Australian Party MPs, the QLD Government had to compromise part of the bill, postponing the proposed lockout time of 1:00am in SNP until July 2017. The deal also means those with drug offences may be banned from SNP.

Currently, statewide laws mean patrons cannot enter/re-enter licensed premises after 3:00am. Casinos however, are exempt from the current lockout laws and many believe Casinos will also be exempt to the new laws set to commence on the first of July. An independent won’t be staged until July 2018.

The Labor Government in a statement said the revised laws are designed to “curb alcohol-fuelled violence”.

“This will mean less families grieving for a very small adjustment in our night-time economy,” the statement said. Click HERE for information on the current Safe Night Out Legislation

However, many in Brisbane’s nightlife and music industry leaders feel the “very small adjustment in our night-time economy” will actually have widespread damaging affects.

The Brightside Lock Out

The Brightside are amongst several of Brisbane’s best live music venues who have taken to social media to vent their anger and concerns about the even tighter licensing restrictions. They’re even throwing a one last party on June 30 to ‘celebrate’ the last day of 3:00am lock-out times.

Director of FOMO Festival and Brisbane club Oh Hello Steve Papas has taken a swipe at the laws, saying it won’t stop those few who will always be violent.

Screenshot 2016-02-17 12.12.30

Director of Footstomp Music Graham Ashton says the new legislation “is a Band-Aid solution where the downside far outweighs the upside.

“The Brisbane music community is currently comparable to any in the world – the lockout laws will destroy this culture and take us back to square one and won’t do anything to reduce the violence…I actually believe it will make it worse,” Ashton said.

Owner of Collision Course and Pricewar Music Tim Price says, “it’s a serious misstep of this government to implement these laws.

“This is cutting off the nose to spite the face.”

“From a heavy music perspective (something I’m sure people who are not at shows and concerts would THINK are sources of violence and aggression), I can, without any reservations, say music venues in general are not the generators of violence.

“This is cutting off the nose to spite the face. I understand the government is wanting to address people’s concerns about violence, but one only has to look at what a ghost town King’s Cross has become to see that this, culturally, is a death knell and certainly not the best course of action.

“The government has cut the throats of so very many hospitality workers and venue owners and taken away their ability to earn a living, not to mention punishing people who attend gigs, shows, concerts and clubs who do the right thing, even when intoxicated.

“It’s disappointing also, that the government treats its voting public like children and is so obviously NOT transparent on this – of course, the (Government-income-generating) Casino is not affected by these laws, as is the case in Sydney.

“I can only hope that further research and digging deeper in to what’s happening to the economy in Sydney turns these laws away before they decimate our industry and our beloved venues. All this doesn’t even address the flow-on effect of musicians and DJs not having anywhere to play – therefore having no reasons to create art,” Price said.

“Our southern mates already perceive us to be somewhat in the dark ages up here, these laws will gradually erase what we locals know exists – a vibrant scene where all the musicians, the DJs, the hospitality crews and the industry professionals come together in common ground to form friendships and support each other.”

Director of Mucho Bravado Ben Preece says the tightened laws are “a devastating blow for the passionate group of music professionals and venue operators that make up [Brisbane’s] crazy little scene”.

“Our southern mates already perceive us to be somewhat in the dark ages up here, these laws will gradually erase what we locals know exists – a vibrant scene where all the musicians, the DJs, the hospitality crews and the industry professionals come together in common ground to form friendships and support each other,” Preece said.

Brisbane musician Machine Age says live music venues will take most of the brunt of inevitable palling patronage.

“In the decade that I have been working as an audio engineer and performing as a musician in Brisbane I have found that venues that support live original music have never been subject to the kind of violence that the Government is trying to control with their lockout laws.

“Music venues have always been somewhat of a sanctuary from the Alcohol and drug fuelled zombies dragging their limbs from club to club. But I do feel that there is a lot that can be learned from our little sanctuaries and we shouldn’t be tainted with the same bloody brush,” Machine Age said.

Maggie Steel, Bartender at Kelvin Grove Licensed Café The Menagerie, said her she’s not worried about her job security but feels the social nature of the hospitality industry with be most affected.

“Fortunately for The Menagerie the lockout laws won’t affect us being in an area where the nightlife dies around 9:30pm. However as a bartender looking for knock-off fun, it’ll prove hard to find somewhere to wind down and have a drink,” Steel said.

The anger and concerns raised by Brisbane’s nightlife industry leaders also seems to be echoed in rural Queensland. In an article published yesterday by ABC, pubs and nightclubs from Gladstone to Emerald say businesses and communities will be negatively impacted by the imminent changes to lockout laws.

Griffith University Associate Professor Grant Devilly says the QLD Government needs a more comprehensive approach to tackle the alcohol-induced violence, otherwise the new legislation could be “exacerbating the problem”.

Professor Devilly argues statistics regarding preloading, better known as “pre-drinking”, has led to 10:40pm being the average time that people arrive in the city for a night out.

“Of course, Premier Palaszczuk has the right intention of aiming to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence, but her government really needs a more comprehensive approach to the problem rather than simply making the pub and club drinking times more stringent.

“They really need to think about educating people about what kinds of alcohol levels are acceptable prior to hitting the streets in the evening and making available testing devices in the city so that people can learn to more accurately gauge their drinking,” Professor Devilly said.

Proposed Safe Night Precincts, from July 1 2017:

SNP Fortitude Valley

SNP Brisbane CBD