PUBS BEGIN PRECINCT-WIDE BAN ON VIOLENT PATRONS

In Alcohol-related violence by Clyde Mooney

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The Maryborough Liquor Accord has hit out at violence in venues, threatening six-month precinct-wide bans for all involved.

A new hours north of Brisbane, Maryborough boasts 14 pubs and the annual ‘World’s Greatest Pub Crawl’ event.

The heritage-listed Criterion Hotel, Maryborough

The heritage-listed Criterion Hotel, Maryborough

Speaking to PubTIC, Brendan Heit, owner of the Criterion Hotel and nightclub, says they hope to protect the industry, and put blame where it lies.

“We think that instead of everybody being put out because of idiots committing violence, we’re aiming for the people causing the problem,” said Heit. “Fingers crossed, there won’t be anyone.”

Heit and his business partner are veterans of Queensland’s hospitality scene, and are all too familiar with the dynamic of alcohol and anti-social behaviour.

“This area is a lot better for violence than it was five years ago. You used to see half a dozen fights a night, but in the year since we took over this place, you could count the number of incidents on one hand.

Maryborough pub crawl, 2013

Maryborough pub crawl, 2013

“But the proposed lockout laws won’t fix any problem, they’ll just move it to different times and places. We’ll see more house parties popping up.”

Members of the Accord have determined that anyone caught perpetrating violence in one of their venues – even in self-defence – will be banned from all for six months. The Accord members maintain close contact, and the relevant details of barred individuals will be kept on file.

This would mean offenders would have to travel around 25 kilometres to Hervey Bay go to a pub.

Heit reports the first weekend of the new policy went without incident, and hopes the deterrent will be enough to see that continue.

He says the Government’s proposed new laws won’t break the business, but they may have to look at broadening the hotel’s operating hours to compensate.

He also joins the long list of stakeholders that cannot explain why the Casino would be exempt from the trade restrictions.

“There’s no doubt we will see a massive drop-off of trade in the late hours,” says Heit. “That will affect staff a lot, with reduced hours.

“But if it happens, we’ll have to put our thinking caps on and adapt.”

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