A marketing executive says earlier closing times could make Surfers Paradise on Queensland’s Gold Coast less attractive to tourists.
A Queensland parliamentary committee review of liquor licensing laws studied alcohol-related violence and says nightclubs in entertainment precincts should close no later than 2:00am (AEST) on weekdays and 4:00am on weekends.
Graham Downie, from the Surfers Paradise Alliance, says rival international destinations offer 24-hour entertainment.
“I would think the reduction in hours would make trading conditions quite difficult for the operators which could cause a reduction in nightclubs,” he said.
“The bigger concern I have is that we don’t want tourists feeling there is nothing to do in Surfers Paradise.”
Mr Downie says the earlier closing times could also cause problems during the V8 Carnivale on the Gold Coast later this year.
He says that could leave race fans at a loose end.
“When you do have a group of people who have come for the entertainment of a major event such as that who do want to party on and there’s no facility to do so, what do they do?” he said.
“People don’t give nightclubs enough credit for the excellent controls they do have in the premises. I would rather have them in the nightclubs than on the streets.”
Meanwhile, the Cairns City Licensees Safety Association (CCLSA) in far north Queensland says winding back weekend trading hours for licensed premises will not curb alcohol-fuelled violence.
CCLSA president Paul Garnham says reducing trading hours would create more problems on the streets.
“I think it will hurt business. What happens once we start reducing hours, we start getting people out on the street all at the same time, thus making it harder to get people away,” he said.
“Our biggest problem … at the end of the night is getting people home and getting people out of the CBD.”
He says the focus should be on handing down tougher penalties for offenders.
“Because the penalties aren’t high enough for them, they just go out and repeat offend all the time,” he said.
“If we looked at the fines we dished out for those sort of people, maybe if some of the fines for them were the same for bar staff or management or security in licensed venues, maybe they would be having a good look at the way they behave when they go out.”