New alcohol laws looming

New laws aimed at tackling alcohol fuelled violence, will be introduced on Friday.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the measures, which honour an election commitment, are supported by the vast majority of Queenslanders.

“Research shows that four in every five Queenslanders support pubs, clubs and bars not being able to serve alcohol beyond 3am,” said Mrs D’Ath.


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“A survey by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) also found that more than half of Queenslanders felt the city or centre of their town was unsafe on a Saturday night, and of those people, an overwhelming 92% said alcohol was to blame.

“Our package of laws is designed to encourage people to feel safe enough to go at night and enjoy the diversity of Queensland’s entertainment and nightlife options.

“The opinion of Queenslanders is clear, and the evidence is clear about the benefits laws like these create.

“In Newcastle, similar laws resulted in a 45% increase in the number of licenced venues around the CBD.”

Academic research conducted in Newcastle also found patrons pre-loaded less, went out earlier, and spent more money at licensed venues.  For each hour of reduced alcohol trade, assaults decreased by 22% and in the 18 months after the laws were introduced, assaults between 3am and 6am fell by 67%.

From Friday liquor service hours will be reduced to 2am state-wide, except in safe night precincts where alcohol can be served until 3am.

In all venues, the sale or service of rapid intoxication drinks will end at midnight.

The drinks that will be banned include shots, shooters, bombs, blasters, test tubes and jelly shots.  Drinks containing more than 45 millilitres of spirits or liqueur will also be off the menu and pre-mixed drinks that contain more than 5% alcohol by volume or more than 2 standard drinks.

The ban will not include cocktails, provided these cocktails are listed on a cocktail menu, are not designed to be consumed rapidly and are not sold for less than the price listed on the cocktail menu.

Mrs D’Ath said the measures to ban rapid intoxication drinks after midnight were the result of extensive consultation with community and industry stakeholders.

“Through a series of roundtable discussions, we have worked with industry to develop guidelines that are sensible and address the drinks most likely to cause rapid intoxication, while still allowing patrons to enjoy a cocktail or premium spirit.

“The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation continues to communicate directly with licensed venues to implement the new laws.

“The package of measures that comes into effect next week has the support of a wide range of stakeholders across Queensland, including the Australian Medical Association, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, the Royal Australian College of Surgeons, the Queensland Police Union, the Queensland Nurses Union and the Salvation Army,” said Mrs D’Ath.

“Once the first stage of these reforms has been implemented next week, we will continue working towards the remaining reforms, to be implemented between September this year and February 2017.”

A spokesperson from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation told my gc that stakeholders identified that a ban on shots and a 45 millilitre limit on the amount of spirits or liqueur in a drink, as opposed to 30 millilitres, would represent a practical option for them, as it would allow lower-risk products such as Irish cream whiskey to be served in their standard amounts.

The outcome is an approach that strikes a balance between targeting those drinks that are considered to pose a particular risk of alcohol-related harm and, allowing for a wide range of drinks that are not associated with alcohol-fuelled violence to continue to be sold and consumed responsibly after midnight.

Under the new laws, patrons can order a nip of spirits in a larger glass after midnight.

Licensees and their staff have always been required by law to follow responsible service of alcohol (RSA) practices and allowing a patron to continue to consume shots from a large glass in a rapid manner has always been contrary to RSA principals. To comply with their RSA responsibilities the licensee and staff must refuse serving that type of drink or cease service completely to the patron.

If a licensee is found to be intentionally encouraging this sort of behaviour, it may constitute an unacceptable practice that encourages the irresponsible consumption of liquor, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 100 penalty units.

From 1 July there will be increased monitoring by Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) compliance officers, specifically surrounding reduced liquor service hours and the ban on rapid intoxication drinks from midnight.

In the initial phases, the OLGR will adopt a predominantly educative approach, working together with licensees to ensure they are aware of, and are meeting their obligations.

Police are also liquor investigators under the Liquor Act 1992. Police officers, particularly those working as part of the Queensland Police Service’s liquor units, will also monitor compliance with the ban when attending licensed premises to undertake liquor inspections.

Click here for a full summary of the changes