Two hours less drinking time for Mackay party goers

NIGHTCLUB curfews could encourage people to drink less before going out.

That was the message from State Minister for Mines Dr Anthony Lynham during a trip to Mackay on Wednesday.

He said proposed lockout laws would give people less time to "pre-load" before hitting the town.

The proposed legislation, due to go before parliament next week, would bring lockouts forward to 1am and last drinks calls to 2am, apart from at bars within designated 'Safe Night Precincts' where last drinks would be at 3am.

"By winding back by two hours you lessen the opportunity for people to pre-load, because there is less time to pre-load, because they have to get to the clubs before the clubs close," Dr Lynham said.

"And that (reduced) pre-loading effect also contributes to the lack of violence that we see and we see increased safety of our children."

Dr Lynham is confident if the laws are adopted a third less people will end up in emergency departments as a result of alcohol-fuelled violence.

The controversial laws were introduced to New South Wales in February 2014, and Dr Lynham said violence was now down 42% at Kings Cross and 30% in Newcastle.

"The evidence is overwhelming. A simple two-hour adjustment can achieve so much and it's so little to give," Dr Lynham said.

But he told the public to be prepared for arguments to the contrary.

He said calls for longer jail time for offenders did not prevent the violence from occurring in the first place.

And while he agreed education and awareness would be needed to change a destructive drinking culture, he said it couldn't be the only tool utilised.

"It's very difficult, when you have a $200m advertising industry pushing (alcohol) onto our kids, to try and educate against that," he said. "We'll do our hardest but to try to use education as our only tool, it's simply not enough."

He said increased safety would also lead to a thriving business district and cited a doubling of licensed businesses within Kings Cross since the introduction of the lockout laws.

THE DETAILS

The bill asks for:

  •  1am lockout
  •  2am last drinks call
  •  3am last drinks at 'Safe Nights Precinct' bars.


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