A doctor who repairs shattered faces says the Queensland government is wrong to exclude restricted trading hours from its plan to tackle drunken violence.
The Queensland government has defended its plan to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence amid claims it’s ignoring the only effective solution.
Anti-violence campaigners, including one doctor who spends his days reconstructing faces shattered in drunken fights, say the government must restrict trading hours at pubs and clubs.
But the government says it doesn’t want to punish the majority of people who drink responsibly by making venues close earlier.
Instead, it plans to focus on more intense policing in the state’s entertainment precincts, and harsher penalties, including longer jail terms, for those who get drunk and engage in violence.
Acting Attorney-General David Crisafulli says it’s time for a fresh approach.
“Alcopop taxes, changing closing hours, all the things that have been thrown into the mix over the years have not worked,” he told ABC radio on Monday.
He said the solution was to throw the book at the few who were creating problems for the majority.
“We’ve got to make sure that people who act like animals are treated in that very way.”
Mr Crisafulli did not say what evidence the government had to suggest that jailing offenders would help solve the issue of alcohol-fuelled violence.
He accepted there was a view that restricted hours was an effective solution, but added: “I still think fundamentally that things like banning orders and consequence policing is the way to go.”
But Royal Brisbane Hospital facial surgeon Dr Anthony Lynham said restricting hours was the only thing that had been proven to reduce hospital admissions from alcohol-fuelled violence.
He said it was a model that had worked in many locations including Newcastle in NSW, in England, Scotland and in Hollywood.
“The only research out there that shows we can get a one third reduction to our hospitals is by closing them (pubs and clubs) two hours earlier,” he told ABC radio.
“All the stuff the acting attorney-general is citing is stuff from the alcohol and hotel industry.”
Australian Medical Association Queensland president Christian Rowan says the premier needs a more comprehensive strategy.
“I support tougher penalties, but in and of itself, it will not completely resolve the issues,” he told AAP.
“We need further education about excessive alcohol consumption or drugs, we also need to examine trading hours, and the impacts current trading hours have on alcohol-fuelled violence.
“Reducing trading hours is not going to reduce it either. It needs to be a multi-pronged strategy.”
Palmer United Party Queensland parliamentary leader Alex Douglas says the premier is unprepared to take on alcohol suppliers and cut trading hours for venues.
“Of course they have to take on the alcohol lobby,” Dr Douglas told ABC radio.
“The one thing that is shown to work in Australia, is that if you close the takeaways one hour before that place closes you will dramatically decrease the amount of violence that occurs in and around that area.”