Lockout laws passed in Queensland: “Prepare to see family run businesses go bankrupt”

Ronelle Richards /

Queensland business owners will no longer be able to sell alcohol after 3am, as contentious lockout laws have been passed by the state government.

Similar to the lockout laws operating in New South Wales, the Alcohol Fuelled Violence Amendment Bill means nightclubs will need to start their last-drinks calls from 2am.

Read more: Sydney’s lockout laws cause collapse of well-known restaurant and bar

Queensland’s minority state Labour government was able to pass the lockout laws with the support of Katter’s Australian Party MPs Rob Katter and Shane Knuth.

More than half of parliament spoke on the legislation during parliamentary debate, with the LNP opposing the laws.

As part of the agreement, from February 1 next year, a lockout at 1am will be imposed.

Similar to laws operating in Sydney, the lockouts will not affect gaming venues, with casinos and adult entertainment venues allowed to trade to 5am, but must stop serving alcohol at 3am. Other exemptions to the lockout include BYO restaurants and airport terminals.

Failure to comply with the statewide lockout could result in penalties of up to $11,780 for licensees or permit holders.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement this morning the new regulations fulfil her government’s election promises to reduce alcohol fuelled violence in Queensland.

“The evidence is clear: reduced trading hours leads to reduced violence, and that’s what this Bill delivers,” she said.

“Doing nothing is not an option. I’ve spoken to countless doctors, nurses, paramedics, police, parents and grandparents who have urged me to take action to curb alcohol fuelled violence.”

However, Freelancer founder Matt Barrie, who is vehemently against the NSW lockout laws, told SmartCompany this morning the laws will have severe consequences for SMEs in the area.

“Prepare to see family run businesses go bankrupt, tourism dive, the social and cultural fabric of the state wane and Queensland’s reputation turn into an international embarrassment as it has done in Sydney,” he says.

Lobby group Our Nightlife Queensland has slammed the laws, telling Sky News the legislation is “draconian”.

In particular, Our Nightlife Queensland secretary Nick Braban said the lockout is misguided.

“The industry was ready and willing to accept reduced trading hours, but the lockout itself is a bad policy,” he said.

“Jobs are going to lost, businesses will close, musicians will struggle for gigs, youth unemployment will skyrocket.”

Braban also said the laws are unfairly slanted against small and medium businesses.

“The 1am lockout drives people into larger venues … because they know they will stay open later,” he said.

Ronelle Richards

Ronelle Richards is a former SmartCompany journalist. She is currently studying a Masters of Journalism at The University of Melbourne and has previously worked as a journalist and photographer at rural newspapers.