HIT THEM HARD: Rockhampton’s Ben Isbel enjoys having a beer when he’s out for a night in the city. Ben, who goes out most weekends, says he sees the occasional fight, but doesn’t think Rockhampton is worse than other places. He thinks drunker offenders should be hit with harder penalties.
HIT THEM HARD: Rockhampton’s Ben Isbel enjoys having a beer when he’s out for a night in the city. Ben, who goes out most weekends, says he sees the occasional fight, but doesn’t think Rockhampton is worse than other places. He thinks drunker offenders should be hit with harder penalties. Megan Lewis

New laws may curb violence

ACTING Mayor Rose Swadling wants Rockhampton Regional Council to back a move to introduce tougher liquor licensing laws.

With alcohol-related violence in the spotlight, Cr Swadling this week said she would table a request for council to make a submission to the Queensland Government to look at implementing the same conditions in Rockhampton that operate at Brisbane.

Currently the liquor licensing conditions set for venues across the Rockhampton region are done on a case-by-case basis.

The Brisbane system, introduced in 2006, sees a minimum standard for all places that operate beyond 1am, including the requirements of CCTV, specified crowd controller numbers, an incident register, strict drinking practice requirements and staff training.

Checks this week of six Rockhampton district venues named among 41 in Queensland at which the State Government claims an incident involving a glass being used a weapon has occurred in the past year shows only two meet the Brisbane standards, though one that didn't is not licensed beyond 1am. (The Heritage Hotel does not believe the government's claims are accurate and is waiting for further information about details.)

Some of the other venues have introduced security measures, not required under their license conditions, for the safety of patrons.

Despite having only about 2.5% of Queensland's population, the region's ratio of pubs where glass incidents occurred was about 15% of the state's total.

Introducing tougher licensing conditions is likely to be met with a mixed reaction by the region's hotel owners.

Most of the owners of the venues contacted by The Morning Bulletin yesterday declined to comment.

Of the two managers that spoke, one welcomed the move while the other said it would result in extra costs for establishments.

This manager said the focus should be on tougher penalties, such as mandatory jail terms, for the small minority of people who caused problems.

A Queensland Parliament inquiry into alcohol-related violence across the state has been set up.

Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten urged council to make a submission. He said the issue was a big problem and radical action needed to be taken.

A Liquor and Gaming Regulation spokesman said the office had not placed blanket conditions regarding CCTV and crowd controllers throughout regional areas because of the varying operational conditions for some of these premises.

Cr Swadling said anti-social behaviour, was having an adverse impact on the community.

Licence conditions Police provided a list of 41 licensed premises in Queensland that were identified as high risk in relation to glass incidents. Of these, six were in the Rockhampton region. The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation says these venues have the following conditions on their licenses: • O'Dowds Hotel - trades 10am-2am Monday to Saturday and 10am-12 midnight Sunday - has CCTV requirements; • Heritage Tavern - trades 10am-5am Monday to Sunday - has CCTV and security provider requirements; • Strand Hotel Motel - trades 10am-3am Monday to Saturday and 10am-12 midnight Sunday - has no CCTV or security provider requirements; • Stadium - trades 5pm-5am Monday to Sunday - has CCTV and security provider requirements; • Pete's Paddy Go Easy Irish Pub - trades 10am-12 midnight Monday to Sunday - has no CCTV or security provider requirements; and • The Post Office Hotel Motel - trades 10am-2am Monday to Saturday and 10am-12 midnight Sunday - has no CCTV or security provider requirements.


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