Revellers take to drinking at home first
By CHRIS LYNCHchrisl@gladstoneobserver.com.au
WHAT does the beginning of football season and government excises on alcohol have in common?
They both cause drunken mayhem, according to two Gladstone men who have a combined total of 44 years on Gladstone streets.
Gladstone Blue and White taxi company owner Allan Rowe has been in the game for 25 years and he says the government is trying to rein in the horse after they let it bolt.
Mr Rowe said six monthly tax increases on alcohol made alcohol too expensive over the bar, and that many people he dropped to night spots were already intoxicated.
He said a lot of the time hotel staff were not to blame. His opinion was that people binged at home and only bought a few drinks while out because it was kinder on their wallet.
He also said there was a marked increase in drunkenness with the start of any football season, a comment reiterated by Gladstone police Senior Sergeant Leigh Burt.
"It's a well known fact people will sit at home and drink a carton or a bottle of rum while watching the footy and then head out,'' he said.
"Cabbies do say a lot of the people they take out are already drunk. Then hotels get the blame and a lot of the time it's not their fault.''
Snr Sgt Burt said there was no way to police what people did in their own homes, instead he urged people to take steps to ensure their own safety.
He urged friends to look out for each other and to stick to well lit areas.
However, Snr Sgt Burt said he believed no matter what the excises rose to people would always overdo things.
Mr Rowe, along with one Goondoon Street shop owner, praised police for their efforts in controlling crowds of weekend revellers but they said big brother-style closed circuit television was long overdue.
Gladstone Mayor Peter Corones said provisions would be made in the CBD redevelopment to allow cables for such devices to be laid, however he said no firm plan had been decided even though the issue was first raised at least two years ago.