Page 196 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Essentially, the evidence shows that larger venues with higher maximum capacities are at increased risk of violent incidents and, similarly, that the later venues trade the higher the risk of violence. A risk-based licensing framework does two things to encourage a safer and more vibrant nightlife. Firstly, it gives incentive to smaller, safer, boutique-style bars. These small venues are less likely to experience or attract violence. Secondly, for those venues that do trigger the higher risk categories there will be higher annual fees. The return to government from these increased fees can then be used to adequately and consistently fund liquor licensing inspection teams.

In the past there has been some concern that the number of inspections from year to year varies as the vagaries of budget funding vary. By linking funding to licence fees, inspections are guaranteed. This is important in ensuring that inspectors are able to get out and check that venues are acting responsibly and within their licensing requirements. This is a reform the government have flagged they will act on, and the Greens will support such a reform. We support it because it is backed by evidence that shows it will build a safer and more vibrant nightlife in our city.

There are, however, other policy proposals in the government’s final report that are not backed by such strong evidence. The Greens call on the government to commit to introducing only those policies that are backed by clear evidence.

As we seek to tackle the issues of alcohol-related violence and binge drinking in our entertainment districts, we believe that we should focus on the policies and focus our resources on those ones that have an evidence base rather than pursuing those that are more debatable. The Greens firmly believe that priority must be given to policies such as a risk-based licensing framework. We would prioritise those over policies where the evidence is not as clear, such as lockouts.

The evidence for lockouts can best be described as mixed and certainly not as strong as that backing a risk-based licensing framework. The focus should remain on the ultimate goal, which is to work towards making people feel safe when they go out in our city, removing that fear and encouraging people to make the most of our city centre. The evidence must be relied upon in choosing which is the most valuable tool to use to achieve that goal.

What we can learn from the places in Australia where lockouts have been trialled is that, in order to give them the best chance of reducing violence and antisocial behaviour, they need to be coupled with two costly initiatives: firstly, increased police numbers on the street late at night at the time of the lockout; and, secondly, significant public transport upgrades to cater for the spill-out effect that accompanies lockouts.

The transport infrastructure requirements that need to be put in place to cater for the spill-out effect of lockouts are over and above the regular late-night transport requirements. The difference is that under lockout schemes patrons surge onto the streets at the designated lockout time. The demand on the public transport is higher, and significant investment is required to reconfigure public transport to meet this surge in demand.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video