Schwarto backs early club closures

THE later a nightclub is open the more problems it will create.

That's the stance Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten took yesterday in response to yesterday's submission to have nightclub and hotel hours slashed.

The Queensland Police Union general president Ian Leavers yesterday said he had submitted the recommendation - to restrict nightclub hours to 2am and suburban hotels to midnight - to Queensland Parliament.

Mr Schwarten said he wasn't surprised by the call as he constantly had local police and community members bringing up issues of alcohol-related violence with him.

“That is the reason we are having a parliamentary inquiry,” he said.

“Barbara Stone is coming to look at the subject. This will hit Rockhampton sooner rather than later.

“The later a premises is open the more problems - that's what police have indicated to me.”

Mr Leavers yesterday said “too many people have been severely bashed, injured, maimed and disfigured, all in the mistaken belief that swilling alcohol until dawn somehow makes us internationally superior or sophisticated - it doesn't”.

“There is now plenty of evidence that selling liquor until sunrise is taking a high toll on our youth.”

Mr Leavers said he was aware that nightclub owners and publicans might not be happy with the submission.

And yesterday Rockhampton's nightclub owners and publicans shied away from commenting on the topic.

Currently however, two venues in Rockhampton's CBD already close at the newly suggested closing times - a decision the owners made right from the beginning that has proven successful.

The Ginger Mule closes its doors at 2am and The Oxford Hotel shuts down at midnight.

Mr Leavers said it was time to restore order.

Mr Schwarten said the proposal would not be ruled out.

But he said he wasn't sure if 2am was the right time, but realised alcohol was readily available and there was a need to look at how to scale that back.

Club hours Queensland Police Union's main submissions: • A reduction of late trading hours to a maximum of 2am for those venues operating in declared entertainment precincts or where clusters of licences exist in regional cities. • Ordinary trading hours of 10am to Midnight for all liquor licences outside declared entertainment precincts including suburban and rural hotels.

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