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Say NO to 1AM Lockouts in Cairns

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Dear People of Cairns, 

 

·         QLD’s minority Labour Gov is set to table in parliament this week, legislation forcing the lockouts at 1am and closure at 3am. 

·         Currently it is 3am/5am

·         The government needs support of cross benchers Billy Gordon, and Katter party MP’s, Shane Knuth and Robbie Katter.  Our local MP  Rob Pyne is sticking to the party line, rather than listening to and representing the will of Cairns Community.

·         The proposed law changes stem from problems experienced in Brisbane, however the gov is hell bent on forcing early lockout and closure across the state.

·         It is unfair and unworkable to force this on Cairns, who’s venue’s have  good and improving safety record.

·         A vibrant nightlife is an important part of Tourism, Cairns biggest industry.  When friends or partners on holiday get separated by 1am lockout, they will think it is a police state.  Bad word of mouth.

·         Cairns does not have buses and trains operating late at night like Brisbane.

·         So the only way home at 3am is in a Taxi, and there is simply not enough taxis for a big rush of people at 3am.  It will be chaos at the taxi rank with waits of well over an hour and frustration rising.  This may lead some people to drink and drive, with the potential of deadly consequences.

·         As an alternative, the Cairns Industry is volunteering to have linked ID scanners for all venues trading beyond 2am.  This will weed out the tiny percentage of Trouble Makers and let this generation of young and emerging Cairns adults enjoy the freedom of choice that generations past have.

·         It is just so unfair, to penalise Cairns people for problems experienced in Bris. 

·         The Cairns people should be rewarded for good behaviour, rather than being loaded up with the hassle of rushing to last venue before 1am, getting separated from friends and denied the right to move around freely.  Especially when they have done nothing wrong.

·         And then at the end of it The Government is forcing people to endure really long waits at Taxi ranks, every Fri and Sat night, for years.  All for no reason. 

·         That’s right if the Gov is successful, think of it.  Each and everytime you go out and party to 3am.  You will have to wait about an hour for a cab. 

·         This effects us all.  Go to Member for Cairns Rob Pynes twitter and facebook accounts, and demand he stand up for the people of Cairns.  It is simply unfair for his Government limit your freedom and inconvenience you.

·         Every post counts.

 

 

DISCUSSION NOTES:

·         Cairns Chamber of Commerce does not support changes to closing times or lockout.

·         Cairns Regional Council voted unanimously to reject the 1am Lockout and 3am closure.

·         The proposed amendments do nothing to address the concerns expressed by the broader Cairns Community in relation to the proposal.  Rather than a back down it is a strengthening of the government’s position.  The condition SNP’s can apply for 1am /3am, and then venues can trade to 3am if they agree to a 1am lockout is a cynical divide and conquer strategy, to coerce venues to have no alternative but agree to the governments will.  This clause is not an olive branch, but a very clever strategy.

·         Cairns Concerns which have not been addressed are:

o   We do not have the transport infrastructure to clear the patrons if all venues close at 3am.  As stated by the sole transport operator, Black and White Taxis at consultation with Attorney General. 

o   1am lockout, 3am closure will indelibly damage Cairns reputation as an International Tourist Destination.  A vibrant nightlife is a key component of our portfolio of attractions.

o   Cairns Economy is more reliant on tourism than any other in Regional City in QLD, after many tough years the industry cannot afford such a setback.

o   Similar measures in centres such as Newcastle and Kings Cross have resulted in the nightlife has moving to other area’s not affected by the legislation.  For Tourism it is vital that Cairns City maintains a vibrant nightlife, close to accommodation.  There is no suitable area for the nightlife to move to.

o   There is no need for a 1am/3am.  Cairns has a terrific track record over many years with all stakeholders working together effectively. 

o   Whilst Dr Lynham claim an increase of 35% in alcohol related admissions to Cairns Base Hospital, the statistics do not determine whether the injury occurred in and around venues or elsewhere.  However the statistics to show  admissions after 11pm, represent a negligible portion.  The Government have released statistics regarding alcohol related admissions which encompasses every single admission regardless of origin or cause. This is completely misleading to use this against last night trading venues as the vast majority have nothing to do with licensed premises. The large part of these admissions are from itinerant’s, Domestic Violence and other incidents which have nothing to do with licensed premises. To link the two together is an extremely deceptive way of the Government trying to thrust their message of poor public safety in Cairns.

o   The only data collected separating out related injuries was more than 5 years ago, collated by JCU.  The venues did not show to be a disproportionately large source of admissions, in fact particularly low for females.

 

CAIRNS PROPOSED ALTERNATIVE:

·         Keep current 3am – 5am balance, however introduce linked ID Scanners for all venues trading beyond 2am.

·         Work with JCU, to collate data from all stake holders.

 

GENERAL NOTES, NOT EXCLUSIVE TO CAIRNS.

·         Rates of violence in Kings Cross and Newcastle is/was 4 times worse than any precinct in QLD.  Extreme circumstances warranting extreme action. 

 

Fast Facts:

·         • Brisbane Police District Assault Rate FY15 = 256.8 assaults/100000 people

·         • Sydney LGA Assault Rate FY15 = 1652.8 assaults/100000 people

·         • Newcastle LGA Assault Rate FY15 = 700.7 assaults/100000 people

 

·         The legislation is clearly not workable in regional cites due to limitations of public transport, this will certainly lead to an increase in drink driving thus trauma.

·         Same goes for people walking beyond CBD to near suburbs, the chance of all assaults increases exponentially, particularly in Cairns.

 Will one problem simply lead to another?

·         The public consultation with stakeholders was pointless as the Government had no intention of varying its position.

·         Currently the partying occurs in concentrated precincts, in venue’s with licencesd security staff and CCTV, working with Police, Council Security, night chaplains etc.  Has the Government costed the additional patrols for police to disperse drug and alcohol fuelled parties in the suburbs?  Currently Police struggle to maintain order at teenage house parties beforemidnight.

·         Running cost of venues is substantial.  The idea of allowing venues to run beyond 3am without the supporting income of alcohol sales is preposterous.  It will drive our youth to drugs and dealers to venues.

·         The Governments disdain of ID Scanners is a backwards step.

o   Violent and anti social behaviour is perpetrated by a minute proportion of perpetrators, who are repeat offenders.

o   It is unreasonable to expect Crowd Controllers to memorise lists of names on Police and Accord Banning lists. 

o   ID scanners are a very powerful tool to communicate, readily identify offenders and ban them from venues and precincts alike.  They work in real time.

o   Scanners have the potential to  making unruly and violent behaviour anti – social in much the same way breathalysers minimised and change attitudes to drink driving. 

o   Scanners are the future and the technology is here now.

·         Previously Restaurants applying to Trade Beyond 2am were subject to a Public Interest Test / Submission.  Restaurants are not subject to the same stringent conditions as late night venues, according to the amended proposed legislation it will now be open slather.  How can late night venues provide quality safety measures and quality entertainment when they have a 1 hour window (2am – 3am) exclusive to all other licences?

 

In summary the legislation stems from problems experienced in Brisbane and perhaps, should be cautiously applied in Brisbane only for a trial period.  The problems the legislation seeks to solve could well be outweighed by the problems it creates, particularly in Regional Centres.  Make no mistake, this is Social Engineering on a Grand Scale, the government has not put forward any hard data to justify the change nor research predicting the outcome.  Queenslanders deserve a comprehensive document, rather than a few slogans and sound bights published in the paper.

 

Cairns more than any region warrants special consideration, our community has most at risk balanced by an industry with a demonstrated track record of proactively working with all stakeholders to ensure the safety of the public.

 

The greater Cairns Community overwhelmingly rejects the proposed legislation.

 

Footnote:  We encourage consultation with other independant stakeholders such as:

·         Charmaine Hayes-Jonkers

·         Criminologist | College of Arts, Society & Education | James Cook University, Cairns
E:Charmaine.Hayesjonkers@my. jcu.edu.au | M: 0438 332 157

·         Cliff Singer | City Safe Officer
Community Development | Cairns Regional Council
Phone: 07 4044 3569 | Mobile: 0477 990 136
Email: c.singer@cairns.qld.gov.au

·         Carol Christopher – Safe Night Mates (Formerly President over the past three years of Cairns Street Chaplains)

 

Thank you for your support. 



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