The future of Queensland’s lockout laws looks uncertain as Cabinet meets to discuss the controversial 1am lockout, set to start next week.
Ministers will consider a report assessing the effectiveness of measures enforced in July 2016, which included a ban on shots after midnight and last drinks at 2am for bars across the state, and 3am for nightclub precincts.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told the Courier Mail the “key measure” of reduced trading hours was already in place, but stopped short of saying the additional restrictions targeting alcohol-fuelled violence would be scrapped or delayed.
“The signature component of my government’s policy is in place,” she said. “Other measures are seen as supplementary or complementary.”
Cabinet is expected to trial an ID scanning system that targets problem patrons, proposed by club owners last month, in place of the 1am cut-off. The data would then be uploaded to a secure government database to keep track of repeat offenders.
The interim report found clubs in Fortitude Valley had been getting around the 3am lockout by using 12 annual permits, designed for special occasions, on a rostered system across the precinct. There has reportedly not been a single weekend since July 1 that punters in the Valley have been unable to buy a drink after 3am.
Jaxon King, co-owner of local bar Barbara, says confusion over closing times was proving damaging to clubs and small neighbouring venues. “The general public still don’t know what’s going on and that has a flow-on effect for the Valley in general,” says King.
See also: Queensland’s New Lockout Laws, Explained