PUBS CLOSING EARLY TO AVOID COMPULSORY ID SCANNERS

In Business & Trade by Clyde Mooney

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Compulsory use of ID scanners is set to begin tomorrow in Queensland, causing unintended consequences for patrons as venues affected forgo their late-night trading to avoid installing them.

In January the Queensland Government announced its decision to end plans to impose lockouts across the State from 1 July that would see most venues have to deny patrons entry after 1am. Venues in designated ‘Safe Night Precincts’ (SNP) would be allowed to trade until 3am with permits and additional restrictions.

But from the compromise came confirmation of plans to force venues licensed to trade past midnight to operate an ID scanner at entrances every night from 10pm – regardless of their history or style of patronage, and scanning every entrant, regardless of age.

Information from the scanners is shared with other licensed venues, allowing someone evicted from one venue to be potentially banned from every licensed venue in the State at once.

Many restaurants, boutique bars and pubs are said to be forfeiting their late-trading permissions to avoid being forced to rent or acquire the ID scanning machines and pay security to man them.

Frank Gambaro of Gambaro Hotel told the Courier Mail he could not afford the additional expense for merely having a 3am licence when he typically closed at midnight anyway, and lamented the lack of consultation with industry.

“It’s just poor that the government has put this on to us. We wished the government had thought it through more.”

The mandated scanners are said to cost over $5k to rent annually, on top of the staffing costs. Many venues will require more than one.

Meanwhile, pubs outside of SNPs can trade after midnight (in accordance with their own licence) every night of the week without scanners.