'Drink-safe' areas aim to curb alcohol-fuelled violence

AN independent panel made up of community leaders and industry experts will oversee the Queensland Government's multi-million dollar strategy to curb alcohol-fuelled violence across the state.

The strategy will see the establishment of drink-safe precincts in Airlie Beach, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Ipswich, Mackay, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Brisbane Central MP Robert Cavallucci, who will chair the panel, said on Friday, he along with the seven other panel members, would be responsible in making positive and lasting changes to Queensland's drinking culture.

"The panel will play a critical role in the success of achieving this ambitious task and I am very pleased with the calibre of people," he said.

"I am particularly pleased the panel will include Mitchell Giles of Lives Lived Well who provide outstanding drug and alcohol counselling services and Lance Mergard who already for many years has been watching out for our young people and making our streets safer right across Queensland.

"We will be continuing to engage with the community as we roll out this strategy and provide formal six and twelve month progress reports.

Other panel members include Lives Lived Well CEO Mitchell Gilles, Night Watch/Night Safe's Lance Mergard, LGAQ's Greg Hallam, Queensland Hotel Association's Justin O'Connor, Liquor Accords representative Nick Braban, Cairns MP Gavin King and Toowoomba North MP Trevor Watts.

Mr Cavallucci said other key elements of the strategy would include school-based alcohol and drug education programs, increased police powers and penalties including mandatory community service orders and compulsory alcohol and drug counselling

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