QUEENSLAND will be a safer place for families with the Government delivering on its strong plan to end senseless deaths and alcohol and drug-related violence by introducing the country’s most comprehensive strategy in Parliament today.
The Safe Night Out Strategy comprises of more than 60 initiatives including tougher penalties for violent behaviour and drug use, increased powers and resources for authorities and compulsory education for children.
More than 13,000 Queenslanders had their say through an extensive consultation campaign which formed the foundation of the revolutionary reforms.
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A new offence of “unlawful striking causing death” has been introduced, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and requires the offender to serve at least 80 per cent of their prison sentence.
Premier Campbell Newman said the strategy was designed to change the “punch drunk” culture that has developed in Queensland and prevent further deaths and violence.
“The violence has to stop,” Mr Newman said. “Too many Queensland families have suffered from the devastating and tragic effects of “coward punches” and other violent and anti-social behaviour.
“We want our kids and their friends to be able to go out and have fun without fear and this plan will allow for that.”
“We have listened to Queenslanders and the experts and our carefully considered plan tackles the problem of alcohol and drug related violence from all angles.
“It is about getting Queenslanders involved in changing the culture, restoring responsibility and ensuring bad behaviour is no longer tolerated.”
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie said the Strategy received a backing of $44.5 million in funding outlined in the 2014-15 State Budget.
Key elements of the strategy include:
- Compulsory drug and alcohol education in Queensland schools from Years 7 to 12
- Establishing 15 Safe Night Precincts across Queensland to ensure popular nightspots have coordinated prevention and support initiatives in place to keep patrons safe
- A new offence of “unlawful striking causing death”, which will carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and require the offender to serve 80 per cent of his or her prison sentence
- Increased penalties for other violent and antisocial offences such as serious assault of public officers, public nuisance, refusing to leave a licensed premises, obstructing police, failing to obey a move-on order and urinating in public
- A 12 month trial of ‘sober safe centres’ in the Brisbane CBD where police can detain severely intoxicated people in a secure, supervised centre for up to eight hours
- Empowering police to issue banning orders and ensuring police have the resources to have a presence and ability to respond quickly to alcohol and drug related violence
- Stronger and better co-ordinated action to ensure licensees provide a safe environment and comply with liquor licensing rules, including ‘mystery shopper’ style tests
- Mandatory ID scanners in venues trading after midnight in ‘Safe Night Precincts’
- An awareness campaign, including advertising, to promote clear standards of responsible behaviour for patrons, licensees and police
- An extension of the moratorium on decisions about late night trading hours to 31 August 2014 to allow the measures in the action plan to be established and take effect
- Giving local Councils the right to veto Adult Entertainment license applications.
IMAGE: Ben Mengel SOURCE: Supplied