THE Newman Government has revealed Tuesday’s state budget will include $44.5 million of funding for initiatives to combat alcohol and drug-fuelled violence in Queensland.
Fifteen ‘Safe Night Out’ precincts are set to be established across the state, from Cairns to the Gold Coast, where there will be late-night lockouts and more police patrols.
Premier Campbell Newman said the ‘Safe Night Out Strategy’ will ensure Queensland is the safest place in Australia for people to go out and enjoy themselves.
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“We have all seen the devastating and often tragic effects of ‘coward punches’ – not just in our state but across the nation,” Mr Newman said.
“A safe night out is a great night out.”
Key elements of the Safe Night Out Strategy include:
•Changing the culture – by conducting awareness campaigns to promote responsible behaviour and by making school based alcohol and drug education programs available every year, to every Queensland student in years 7 to 12
•Changing the law – by increasing police powers, licensing and penalties including mandatory community service orders and compulsory alcohol and drug counselling to make it clear bad behaviour won’t be tolerated
•Changing the environment – providing safe and supportive spaces through initiatives such as the establishment of up to 15 Safe Night Out Precincts across Queensland, a trial of ‘sober safe centres’ in the Brisbane CBD and improved transport arrangements.
The State Budget is set to include $29.1 million in new funding and $15.4 million from existing Departmental resources to support the strategy over the next four years.
Safe Night Out Precinct boards will be able to apply for grants from an $8 million funding pool for projects such as improved lighting, more toilets, CCTV cameras or extra support services.
Mr Newman said the funding in the Budget for the ‘Safe Night Out Strategy’ would be supported by new laws that would be introduced into the Parliament later this week.
“This comprehensive plan makes troublemakers accountable for their actions, while still ensuring those who do the right thing can go out and have a good time in a safe environment,” he said.
“Just as the culture around drink driving has changed, so too must community attitudes to excessive drinking and drug use.
“We are calling on all Queenslanders to get involved to change the culture, to restore responsibility and to ensure bad behaviour is no longer tolerated.”
A copy of the draft ‘Safe Night Out Strategy’ is available at www.qld.gov.au/safenightout
The 2014/15 budget will be handed down on Tuesday afternoon.