AN investigation into the impact of new lockout laws on the Surfers Paradise night economy has been funded by the Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce, in an effort to keep the State Government honest.
"The Government can't be trusted to report on the effectiveness of the lockout laws," says Peter Yared (pictured), who is also the general manager of Hotel Grand Chancellor.
Yared came to that conclusion after participating in the public consultation process, which he says the concerns of 'do-gooders' were given undue weight in the public consultation, while other stakeholders in the night economy were ignored.
"It skewed the results to back its own position and did not provide an honest evaluation of the situation. It was clear the government only paid lip service to bar and nightclub owners, as it had already made up its mind what to do."
The Chamber has invested $10,000 into a research project, to be run in partnership with Surfers Paradise Alliance and Griffith University, to track the effects of the lockout laws over a 12 month period.
As part of the study, businesses that trade at night in Surfers Paradise will be surveyed, foot traffic will be monitored by Movvo and Griffith University will monitor crime statistics.
In Queensland, last drinks in pubs and clubs outside nightclub precincts are now served at 2am, while in nightclubs it is 3am. Shots, or rapid intoxication beverages, are banned after midnight.
From 1 February 2017, a 1am lockout will be enforced in 15 'Safe Night Out' precincts across the state, with casinos to remain exempt.
Yared supports the limit on rapid intoxication drinks, however strongly disagrees with the lockout rules.
"Since the lockout laws have come into effect, I have seen an increase in violence outside the hotel that I manage," he says.
"The laws have forced a larger number of intoxicated people onto the street at the same time. The public transport cannot handle this large number of people - that is the biggest issue."
A spokesperson for the Queensland Attorney General responded to Yared's criticism, saying the laws will be independently reviewed in two years.
"The government committed to an independent review of those laws in 2018, specifically to avoid the prospect of vested interests selectively using statistics to advance their particular cause," says the spokesperson.
"Those selected to undertake the review were chosen through an open tender process."
In regards to the consultation, the spokesperson says it was "lengthy", and included representatives of licenced venues, clubs and the Queensland Tourism Industry Council.
"The government will continue to consult those stakeholders in the lead up to the next stage of measures to be introduced in February 2017 and through the review process beyond that."
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