Safe night precincts to deal with alcohol related violence
SAFE night precincts planned for Airlie Beach, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Ipswich, Mackay, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba will share in $44.5 million to help stamp out alcohol and drug related violence across the state.
Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls will announce the funding today when he delivers the state budget.
The government will also introduce a suite of tough new laws into State Parliament this week in a further bid to tackle alcohol and drug fuelled violence head-on.
Under the new reforms, "coward punch" deaths will be punishable through a new offence of unlawful striking causing death which will carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Offenders charged under the new laws will be required to serve 80% of their sentence before being able to apply for parole.
The crackdown forms part of the State Government's Safe Night Out Strategy announced earlier this year.
Premier Campbell Newman, talking exclusively to APN Newsdesk, said the funding announced in today's state budget would be used for a range of initiatives.
They include additional liquor licensing inspectors, the establishment of the safe night out precincts, support services, awareness campaigns and a trial of sober safe centres.
"We have all seen the devastating and often tragic effects of 'coward punches' not just in our state but across the nation," he said.
"We are determined to ensure Queensland is the safest place in Australia for people to go out and enjoy themselves.
"A safe night out is a great night out."
Mr Newman said the strategy was aimed at changing the culture around drinking in the state.
"Precinct boards will be able to apply for grants from an $8 million funding pool for projects that best meet their local needs," he said.
"Whether that is for improved lighting, more toilets, CCTV cameras or extra support services.
"Just as the culture around drink driving has changed, so too must community attitudes to excessive drinking and drug use.
"We are calling on all Queenslanders to get involved to change the culture, to restore responsibility and to ensure bad behaviour is no longer tolerated."
Other elements of the strategy include compulsory alcohol and drug education in all Queensland schools from years 7 to 12, tougher penalties for people behaving badly or violently around licensed venues and the introduction of mandatory ID scanners in venues trading after midnight across the safe night precincts.