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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

    Call for action on alcohol-fuelled violence in Cairns

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    Call for action on alcohol-fuelled violence in Cairns

    The Palaszczuk Government is bringing its campaign for action on alcohol-fuelled violence to the far north.

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath is in Cairns today alongside key community leaders to build support for the Palaszczuk Government’s push to call last drinks across Queensland at 2am.

    Safe Night Precincts, including high-traffic zones in both Townsville and Cairns, will have the option of applying to call last drinks at 3am provided they also impose a 1am lockout.

    The laws are due to be debated and voted on by parliament next week.

    “More than a third of all assaults in Cairns over the past two years involved alcohol,” Mrs D’Ath said.

    “That’s 260 assaults, on average, too many in both 2014 and 2015.

    “Meanwhile, since mid-2012, three people a day on average have presented to the Cairns Hospital emergency department for treatment – that equates to just over a thousand cases every year.

    “That’s an enormous burden for our frontline emergency services to bear and it is time the people of Cairns stand up and call for action when it comes to this crucial, evidence-based reform.”

    Mrs D’Ath said a safer nightlife in Cairns would be an economic boon for the region, renowned for tourism.

    “We want Cairns to maintain a vibrant and world-renowned nightlife that matches its daytime tourist attractions such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree rainforest,” she said.

    “What we know is that a safer nightlife means more patrons, greater diversity of venues and more jobs for hospitality workers.

    “Global cities in Ireland, Los Angeles in California and Ottawa in Canada all call last drinks at 2am and still maintain world-class reputations for a great night out – there’s no reason why Cairns cannot do the same.

    “The evidence from Sydney and Newcastle is clear: for every hour you wind back the service of alcohol after midnight, violent assaults are reduced.

    “Safer venues in Cairns means more people will go out at night. That translates to more venues, greater diversity of venues and more jobs for hospitality workers.”

    Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said it was about changing an entrenched culture in Queensland.

    “We need to do everything we can to change people’s attitudes towards drinking and violence,” he said.

    “I strongly believe the government’s initiative in reducing the service of alcohol for licensed venues is a great start.”

    Queensland Tourism and Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind said alcohol-fuelled violence was bad for tourism.

    “Our tourism destinations depend on their image as safe places for all visitors, anytime, anywhere,” Mr Gschwind.

    “Alcohol-soaked mayhem in the early morning does not deliver any benefits to our industry but instead threatens our highly valued reputation.

    “Reduced violence and aggression in entertainment areas is likely to attract more customers, enhance business opportunities and deliver better visitor experiences.”

    Clubs Queensland CEO Doug Flockhart said it was time for action.

    “While we are at the lower-end of the risk continuum, community clubs have been impacted and negatively affected by this violence and it is time for the community to say enough is enough and for the Parliament to respond,” he said.

     

    Media contacts:

    Minister D’Ath 0400 774 303

    Mr Gschwind: 0419 219 795

    Mr Flockhart: 0434 058 200