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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

    Townsville urged to support push to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence

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

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016

    Townsville urged to support push to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence

    The Palaszczuk Government is bringing its campaign for action on alcohol-fuelled violence to North Queensland.

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath visited Townsville on Wednesday alongside 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, can apply to call last drinks at 3am provided they also impose a 1am lockout.

    The laws are due to be debated in parliament next week.

    “The number of alcohol-related presentations to the Townsville Hospital’s emergency department has almost doubled over the past five years from 574 in 2011 to 802 in 2015,” Mrs D’Ath said.

    “Data from Queensland Health shows that last year more than 800 people were treated in Townsville’s tertiary hospital for alcohol-related injuries.

    “The drain on ambulance paramedics, on frontline police and emergency services crews, on our health services and on the criminal justice system is significant.

    “I am urging the people of Townsville to take action by joining the chorus of support for law reform to help address the insidious and deadly problem of alcohol-fuelled violence.

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

    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.

    Townsville MP Scott Stewart said safer venues meant more people would go out to enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife.

    “Safer venues in Townsville will only mean that more people go out at night and that means greater diversity of venues as well as more hospitality and other industry-related jobsl,” he said.

    Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper, a former paramedic, said he would support any measures designed to reduce the number of violent assaults.

    “The research from Sydney and Newcastle tells us that calling last drinks earlier and stopping the service of alcohol in our pubs and clubs earlier has a major impact on driving down the number of violent assaults,” he said.


    Media contacts:

    Minister D’Ath 0400 774 303

    Mr Gschwind: 0419 219 795

    Mr Flockhart: 0434 058 200