Rocky club owners come to lock-out time decision
PARTY-goers in Rockhampton have scaled buildings and fallen through roofs to sneak into clubs to beat a 3am lockout so Hamish Hughes can only imagine things will escalate with a 1am lockout.
The Ginger Mule manager hosted a meeting on October 25 where all members of the safe night precinct had the chance to vote whether local clubs could apply for a 3am extension after February 1 next year.
Initially the vote was tied but eventually swung in favour of the 3am trading licence, eight votes to seven.
This means on February 1, all venues outside of the safe night precinct will be wound back to a 2am liquor trade but those within the precinct will be allowed to trade until 3am.
Mr Hughes said this could be confusing for customers drinking in hotels which close at 2am.
"If they come into town to go to nightclubs etc, they would have already been locked out an hour earlier," he said.
"I don't think anybody is happy with the outcome. We don't get to trade any later than we do now, we just have a 1am lockout."
Mr Hughes said some of the businesses which only trade until 2am now have a 1am lockout which he thought was pretty unfair on them.
"I think gaming venues will struggle locking players out between 1am and 3am, and then being allowed to let them re-enter after 3am to play gaming machines up to 5am.
"I know some people were very unhappy about the decision. I have had an email from a law firm already asking questions about the outcome of the vote."
Mr Hughes said the change in laws would mean party-goers would need to plan their night to avoid being locked out.
"Don't get locked out of the late night venues or nightclubs, check what time the place you are at is closing and make sure you are where you want to be by 1am," he said.
"We still don't know what will happen with lockout and 5am extended trading permits. I have sent questions to senior Liquor and Gaming staff and they still can't give me answers if they will have lockout conditions on them.
"Yet they expect us to vote on 2am or 3am trading without us knowing what their decision on these permits will be."
Mr Hughes said clubs had experienced problems in the past when 3am lockouts started.
"I have seen people climbing on roofs trying to get into venues.
"I know of one business on Quay Street that had somebody fall through their ceiling while trying to climb into a nightclub.
"We even had to put cameras on the roof of Zodiac to catch and prosecute people trying to climb in. That was when we had a 3am lockout.
"I think it is only going to be much worse with a 1am lockout."