Bar manager Ashley Hooker at The Elephant Hotel with new ID scanners that the bar has had to buy for $3000 each.
Bar manager Ashley Hooker at The Elephant Hotel with new ID scanners that the bar has had to buy for $3000 each. Adam Armstrong

Safe Night Precinct failure: Four major problems

BILLED as a way to have fun safely, Queensland's Safe Night Precincts are under fire from venues, for four main reasons.

1. Arbitrary lines on a map

Examples have surfaced from the state of neighbouring venues being affected differently.

In Brisbane's Fortitude Valley, the Woolworths-owned Brunswick hotel sits just outside of the precinct while the Pig N Whistle and a host of other venues less than 400m away are in the "red zone" and will be forced to scan.

In Brisbane's Caxton Street, venues which only trade until midnight will not have to install scanners but venues next door trading until 2am will have to scan from 10pm, leaving a two-hour window where patrons denied entry to a venue with a scanner could potentially enter another nearby without a scanner.

Antoninette Pollock, co-owner of Brewskis bar on Caxton St, Brisbane, has decided to restrict liquor sales after midnight in order to avoid installing ID scanners.
Antoninette Pollock, co-owner of Brewskis bar on Caxton St, Brisbane, has decided to restrict liquor sales after midnight in order to avoid installing ID scanners. Liam Kidston.

Licensees say the implementation of ID scanning has slowed down the entry process significantly, causing long queues.

Queensland Hotels Association chief executive Bernie Hogan said scanners were potentially turning violent people back on the street.

"It was the same problem in Kings Cross and Newcastle, they were always on the street or in lines in queues to get in or into cabs. We've just created more lines," he said.

3. Scanning problems

A host of foreign IDs have been reported as not working with the systems.

Problems have been encountered with American and Canadian IDs due to the fact their cards show the date of birth numbers the opposite way.

Some South American cards have also not worked, causing patrons, no matter how old they are, to carry their passports with them.

4. Small bars to close midweek

Bar and pub owners have slammed the "one size fits all" legislation, labelling it a farce that small bars in Safe Night Precincts will be forced to scan IDs during week days, despite often having only about 30 patrons for a night.

Smaller venues are beginning to cut back their liquor licenses, lowering the value of their businesses significantly.

Safe and sound or high and dry?

DOZENS of pubs and clubs have handed in their late night trading licences in a desperate bid to save themselves from the financial impost of compulsory ID scanners.

Venues across the state, already operating on "razor thin" margins, say they will run themselves into the ground if they opt to trade late and scan, especially during the week.

These surrenders come as The Courier-Mail can reveal boxer and face of the One Punch Can Kill campaign, Danny Green, was denied re-entry to the famous Caxton Hotel after the Jeff Horn fight last Sunday.

It is understood Green entered the pub just before 10pm and had one drink before going outside to take a phone call. Upon his return, security informed Green he was unable to enter without ID because of the new legislation.

Caxton Hotel general manager Alex Farquhar said the situation was "totally embarrassing".

"He is the face of the One Punch Can Kill campaign and he doesn't get let in to a venue because of apparent safety issues," Mr Farquhar said.

New ID scanners are costing bars thousands to buy.
New ID scanners are costing bars thousands to buy. News Corp Australia

"I fear for the day that I'll have Alfie Langer wanting to come into the Caxton Hotel after a Broncos win or, God forbid, after the Maroons win Game 3, and I can't let him in because he doesn't have an ID."

Statistics obtained by The Courier-Mail reveal 31 licensees inside Safe Night Precincts had applied to reduce trading hours from 2am or 3am to midnight, seven days a week.

The figure is understood to be much higher among those who have cut their hours from Sunday through to Thursday. Queensland Hotels Association chief executive Bernie Hogan said venues taking the drastic measure to reduce trading hours took "significant" value out of their businesses.

"It reduces their earning power by reducing their hours. Like any business, your sale price is dependent on the profit you can derive from the business," he said.

"They have to sacrifice their future earnings because otherwise they may not be able to operate their business. They will run the business into the ground during the week, earning nothing and paying all these staff.

"It is damaging Queensland as a destination and that's what we said right from the beginning. We are concerned about the long-term impact this has for our tourism brand."

Mr Hogan said that, along with an estimated $6 million cost for the implementation of the regimen, it hurt everyone across the hospitality industry when venues were forced to cut back their trading hours.

"The average person may not consider reduced trading hours as a huge issue but we have to remember this is hours lost for every hospitality worker," he said.

Acting Attorney-General Dr Anthony Lynham said the Government's strategy to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence was based on evidence. "If this system only prevented one family from dealing with the aftermath of a tragedy, it is already worth it," he said.

"Many venues were already using ID scanners before our laws came into effect ... last week (Saturday and Sunday), eight people on banning orders for violence or serious drug offences were flagged trying to enter clubs.

"The ID scanning systems recognise a wide variety of identification documents, including foreign drivers licences. Most travellers recognise that different cities around the world have different rules and are happy to abide (by them)," he said.

News Corp Australia


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