The Queensland Greens are urging the state Labor government not to proceed with the next stage of Queensland's lockout laws, due to start in February, which would see people prevented from entering venues after 1am in all entertainment precincts across the state.
Greens spokesperson Andrew Bartlett says there is no doubt a 1am lockout will have a severe economic impact not only on bars and clubs, but on the many other nearby small businesses that rely on a vibrant night time economy in these areas.
"We are already seeing statistics and research indicating earlier closing times in Queensland are mostly just leading to more people pre-loading - drinking more alcohol earlier, before they go out.
"We already know from the lockout laws in Sydney that there will be a major drop in live music and entertainment in areas affected by lockouts, along with the job losses that go with it.
"Even those who pushed hardest for earlier closing times acknowledged there is little evidence that adding a 1am lockout on top of that would help reduce alcohol related violence.
"The key architect of the lockout laws, Labor Minister Anthony Lynham, admitted last month that the 1am lockout preventing any new entrants to venues was just aimed at reducing an overload on taxis and that 'Lockouts do absolutely zero to take away alcohol-induced violence'.
"This measure will just further reduce business, causing job losses - mostly for young people - along with closing of venues and a related loss of live and other music opportunities in the night time precincts that are currently most popular."
Mr Bartlett said if the Labor Party was determined to proceed with the 1am lockout law, they must immediately ensure that casinos were subject to the same restrictions.
"If the government genuinely believes it is necessary to constrain the freedoms of individual for the greater good of the community in this way, those constraints should be applied equally - there is no valid reason why the corporations who own casinos should get special treatment.
"Alcohol served in casinos has just the same effect as alcohol served in a live music venue, but the Labor government is giving casinos a free kick. Not only are casinos exempt from trading restrictions that will cut income and jobs for live music venues and clubs, casinos will get the bonus of getting the extra customers who are unable to buy a drink anywhere else.
"Measures to change our society's culture of alcohol abuse and violence should be targeted at the alcohol companies themselves, including advertising and marketing restrictions, and curtailment in the proliferation of bottleshops where alcohol is cheapest."
For further comment, contact Andrew Bartlett.