Qld Nightlife Activists: Decreasing Assault Rates Prove Earlier Lockouts 'Not The Answer'

15 October 2015 | 6:35 pm | Staff Writer

"This flies in the face of all available evidence ... that issues around violence are steadily declining"

Newly released police data proves that there is no evidence that earlier lockouts in Queensland would have any significant positive effect on Brisbane's crime and antisocial-behaviour statistics, the state's premier nightlife-protection body has said.

Speaking in a statement in the wake of the release of Qld Police Service's annual statistics, Our Nightlife Queensland secretary Nick Braban said that, despite calls for earlier lockouts and closing times for the state's licensed venues, the community has been making encouraging progress towards tackling late-night violence and other undesirable behaviour without the need for further restriction and regulation, with assaults down by 9% across the entire state, with Brisbane's figures — particularly within its established Safe Night Precincts — yielding a more-than 10% reduction in assaults.

"Today we have seen evidence that the efforts of local communities in Brisbane have again paid dividends in eliminating violence from our streets," Braban said in his statement.

"The fine work of the Queensland Police in the Brisbane Division has delivered the lowest assault rate in the state, with a 4% decrease on last year.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

"We see even greater results in the three Safe Night Precincts in the division, having had decreases in total assaults of 15.6% in the Fortitude Valley precinct, 18.4% in the CBD, and 23.8% in Caxton Street."

"Assault rates this low are still not being seen in places like Sydney and Newcastle, despite harsh trading-hour restrictions," Braban continued. "We have got it right in Queensland, and we should keep doing what has worked for our state over the past 10 years."

Braban said that the reduction in violence was a direct result of "engagement from local businesses and community stakeholders with the QPS", and were a testament to the effectiveness of locally supported policies.

"The QPS should be congratulated for these outcomes, and have the full support of the nighttime economy in tackling these important issues," he said.

Presently, the state's Labor government is considering moving existing lockouts forward from 3am to 1am, with a similar reduction in operating hours, forcing venues to close at 3am instead of 5am. However, Braban says, "this flies in the face of all available evidence coming out of … Fortitude Valley, the CBD and Caxton Street that issues around violence are steadily declining".

"We want to work together on this important issue," Braban said. "Safety is our number-one priority too but shutting down the industry, costing thousands of jobs, is not the answer.

"There are a range of options the government could consider that would help achieve the outcomes they want, while also protecting the jobs of tens of thousands of people who work in the industry."