The Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), the state’s peak industry body for tourism, believes measures to curb violence and early-morning unsociable behaviour will enhance the attractiveness of Queensland’s entertainment areas and destinations.
Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said QTIC members and industry partners were overwhelmingly in support of the new legislation amendments that will see changes to the service of alcohol as part of the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015.
“Regardless of where anyone stands on this issue, everybody wants to see less violence. That is what QTIC is hoping to see,” Mr Gschwind said.
Mr Gschwind said under the previous government, QTIC participated in an Expert Reference Panel which included a broad range of industry associations and government agencies to discuss the hotly-debated issues.
“The broad consensus of that group was that service of alcohol should be stopped earlier as one of many measures to address violence and related issues,” he said.
“A survey of QTIC members revealed that the current government’s proposed changes were supported by Queensland’s tourism and hospitality industry.”
QTIC wrote to Mr Furner MP, Chair of the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee, regarding the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015. The position taken by QTIC was:
- Support for the proposed regulatory amendments relating the change in service of alcohol hours to 2:00am and 3:00am respectively in ‘safe night’ precincts.
- Support the ban of high-alcohol drinks after 12:00am.
- No support for the proposed ‘lock-out’ at 1:00am in ‘safe night’ precincts. It potentially would add unnecessary confusion to the provisions and does not offer any significant positive benefit to address the problem at hand.
- A recommendation that the proposed legislative changes should be considered within a broader approach to the problems of alcohol and violence, including educational campaigns, late night transport solutions and other practical initiatives. In addition, a structured framework should be established that facilitates shared responsibilities and engagement between government agencies, industry organisations, community groups and other stakeholders that could drive and monitor the desired ‘cultural change’ necessary to address the problems.
Mr Gschwind said the measures now adopted by the Queensland Government are in line with that position, albeit that the 1:00am lock-out provisions are still being planned for February 2017.
“The impact of the earlier end-of-alcohol service on tourism is still a topic of debate and will most likely to continue for some time,” he said.
“On balance, we believe the benefits of less violence, less early-morning unsociable behaviour will enhance the attractiveness of our entertainment areas and our destinations.
“It is also worth noting that venues will not be forced to close at those times. Food and non-alcoholic beverages service can continue, as can entertainment. Further, for drinks bought before 2:00am or 3:00am a grace period for consumption applies.
“It is possible that some businesses will be adversely affected by not being able serve more alcohol beyond those times but the evidence in other destinations in Australia, the United States, Canada and Europe, where similar or even earlier closing times apply, suggests that visitor numbers are unaffected and in fact new business opportunities arise from more customers frequenting those areas.”
QTIC is the peak industry body for tourism in Queensland, acting as “The Voice of Tourism”. It is a private sector, membership-based organisation representing the interests of the tourism and hospitality industry across Queensland.