Nicholas Falconer

Queensland lockout laws: Premier secures deal

LAST drinks in pubs outside designated entertainment areas will occur at 2am from 1 July, 2016.

But 1am lockouts won't begin until 1 February, 2017 after the Queensland Government reached a compromise with the Katter's Australian Party.

The government will also allow courts to ban people convicted of drug offences from attending designated entertainment precincts.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Arth said it was a "proud day" for Queensland.

KAP state leader Robbie Katter said they agreed to support the legislation after the government agreed to look at "social issues" affecting the outback - including 15% unemployment.

The premier will hold cabinet subcommittee meetings in Mt Isa and Charters Towers, which Mr Katter and KAP MP Shane Knuth will address, on increasing jobs in their areas.

Me Katter said he hoped Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk would "bring her chequebook" to the meeting.

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In a statement, the government said Mr Katter and Mr Knuth would support the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 based on the following:

1. Drug offenders can be banned from Safe Night Precincts. Currently these banning orders only apply to offences of violence. 

2. Existing $8 million Safe Night Precinct funding can be used to assist transition to new liquor laws: Applications by Safe Night Precinct Local Boards will be allowed for assistance to transition to the new liquor laws, including for security.

3. Trading hours for licensed venues will be implemented in a staged approach

• Last drinks to be introduced by July this year as proposed: Firstly, the 2am last drinks will operate in all venues outside of precincts, and 3am last drinks in the precincts, from 1 July 2016.

• 1am lockouts to be effective from 1 February 2017: Secondly, the lockout for the 15 Safe Night Precincts will start on 1 February 2017. This will give operators in those Precincts sufficient transition time. 

4. Independent review of laws from July 2018: The laws will be independently reviewed after two years from the commencement of the legislation, being 1 July 2016. 


Do the new laws go far enough? Will they be effective?

The Premier said the agreement with the crossbenchers also included increasing employment and devoting more resources to mental health.

"Alcohol-fuelled violence is an important social policy for the Government, and the impact of unemployment and the economic downturn are important social policy issues for us," Mr Katter said.

"The meaningful discussions we have had with the Government have ensured we have been able to make progress on all these issues," Mr Knuth said.

Working Queensland Cabinet Committee

Ms Palaszczuk has agreed to the request from Mr Katter and Mr Knuth for the Working Queensland Cabinet Committee to meet in Mount Isa and Charters Towers.

"Senior Ministers and I will meet in Mount Isa with Mr Katter and Charters Towers with Mr Knuth to discuss local projects and gain a better insight into local issues," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Mental health

Ms Palaszczuk has agreed with Mr Katter and Mr Knuth to prioritise funding for mental health programs when framing the 2016-17 State Budget due on 14 June.

"Rates of suicide in regional Queensland are too high and we welcome a stronger priority for mental health programs in the next Budget," Mr Katter said.

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