Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart says it’s up to the government to decide to shut pubs and clubs early in its fight against drunken violence.
Queensland’s police commissioner isn’t buying into the debate of whether pubs and clubs should shut earlier to curb alcohol-fuelled violence, saying it’s up to the government to decide.
Anti-violence campaigners say the state government must restrict trading hours at venues, but Commissioner Ian Stewart isn’t saying whether he thinks their argument has merit.
“I can certainly have an opinion, but it’s up to government to make the decisions,” he told Fairfax Radio on Tuesday.
“My job is then to get on and implement government policy and the legislation that they put in place.”
Premier Campbell Newman says the state will have a new plan to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence within months, after the NSW government announced radical laws including a mandatory minimum sentence of eight years’ imprisonment for fatal “one-punch” assaults.
The Queensland government is also looking at harsher penalties, including longer jail terms, for those who get drunk and violent.
It says changing closing hours and “alcopop” taxes haven’t worked in curbing drunken fights.
But anti-violence campaigners, including Royal Brisbane Hospital facial surgeon Dr Anthony Lynham, say restricting trading hours is the only proven way to reduce hospital admissions from alcohol-fuelled violence.
Dr Lynham says it’s a model that has worked in many locations including Newcastle in NSW.
But state Member for Brisbane Central Robert Cavallucci, who chaired a committee tasked with tackling drunken violence, says there’s more to Newcastle’s success.
He said alcohol-fuelled violence dropped after the city implemented about 100 strategies, only one of which was closing pubs and clubs earlier.
“Our own data shows that very few presentations, alcohol arrests, ambulance call-outs occur between three and and five o’clock in the morning,” he said.
“There’s a whole issue across society about alcohol consumption and alcohol culture.
“Closing pubs at three o’clock does nothing to address that. It’s what you do when you don’t actually have a policy.”