Hotels and bars team up with cops to tackle violence

Gympie Royal Hotel manager Stacey Lowe is helping regional business lead the charge against violence.
Gympie Royal Hotel manager Stacey Lowe is helping regional business lead the charge against violence. Renee Pilcher

THE business community is up in arms over boozy thugs.

Across Queensland and New South Wales, hotel and bar operators are joining forces with police to stamp out the bad behaviour putting their industry in a bad light.

Not only are reputations at risk, liquor outlets face massive fines and a loss of their licences when trouble strikes.

Queensland liquor outlet operators face a $56,925 fine for serving alcohol to disorderly patrons while NSW licensees and managers can lose their licences for breaching the laws three times. They also face hefty fines and prison.

Leading the peace charge are regional businesses.

One of those is Gympie Royal Hotel manager Stacey Lowe.

"While we aren't dealing with the same number of alcohol-related incidents as other cities and coastal areas, we definitely have our issues," the Gympie Liquor Industry Action Group chairwoman said.

"Local hoteliers, police and licencing officers get together to discuss these issues and communicate with each other about known troublemakers whether it be in our venues or out on the street."

Byron Bay restaurant owner Paul Waters.
Byron Bay restaurant owner Paul Waters.

Over the border, Byron Bay restaurant owner Paul Waters said the city's venues were working together to make a difference.

"The liquor accord (members) have been fantastic," he said.

"They've come up with a whole suite of measures (to deter drunken thugs)."

Queensland Safe Night Out Strategy executive responsible officer Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon said convincing businesses of the strategy's merits was a slow process.

"I do believe they'll come on board when they see the value of it, when they see it's good business by being able to market it as their premises where people can come and enjoy the company of their friends and be safe," he said.

Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon
Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon

Coffs-Clarence crime manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson said businesses flouting the law would not be tolerated.

"We've got matters that are currently before the courts in relation to allegations of not complying with liquor licences," he said. 

Detective Inspector Darren Jameson
Detective Inspector Darren Jameson

Education is key in fight against violence

GET them young and you'll have them for life.

Education is the key to ensuring the next generation of adults don't become victims or perpetrators of alcohol-induced violence.

Queensland Homicide Victims' Support Group general manager Ross Thompson's son Michael was murdered in 2005.

He and other support group volunteers - all victims of crime - have delivered their tough lessons through the One Punch Can Kill campaign to about 40,000 kids since July.

"It's the 14- to 19-year-olds who are mainly responsible for violence - it's something like 67% responsible for all violence," Mr Thompson said.

"Preferably (education) starts at the dinner table."

The support group's One Punch Can Kill campaign is taught across schools in Queensland.

"We explain to them the repercussions of drugs, alcohol, violence in the home and all this sort of thing that goes on," Mr Thompson said.

Innovative programs like the Northern NSW Local Health District's Reduced Risk Increased Student Knowledge project are giving teenagers the tools they need to survive in a world of booze, drugs and assaults.

NNLHD health promotion manager Jillian Adams said RISK educators spoke to thousands of young people each year.

"Young kids are risk-takers - that's a normal part of their behaviour," Ms Adams said.

"We teach them about planning, partying safely and getting home safely and we also teach them some things about drugs and alcohol.

"It is a really positive program.

"It's a series of seminars over a day and they learn some practical first aid - so how to put someone in a recovery position if they're in trouble." 

Breaches of liquor licencing laws in NSW and QLD attract a range of punishments. These include:


- A licensee or manager can be fined $56,925 for the following breaches.

Sell liquor to a disorderly patron

Give liquor to a disorderly patron

Allow liquor to be given to the patron

Allow the patron to consume liquor

- There are also on the spot fines of $227-$2277 for a range of breaches including supplying liquor to a minor; fail to display adult entertainment permit signage conspicuously; and fail to keep premises clean and/or in good repair.


- In NSW, breaching the laws three times means the loss of the liquor licence.

- Other penalties include $11,000 or 12 months imprisonment (or both) for offences including supplying alcohol to a minor.

Source: Queensland and NSW governments.

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