Queensland Liberal MP Teresa Gambaro has started a Change.org petition to directly protest the Labor government’s proposed changes to lockout legislation.
Gambaro has criticised the changes – that would see venues close their doors at 1am with bars and clubs following at 3am and shots and cocktails banned after midnight – claiming that they “will not effectively reduce violence in Brisbane, but … are guaranteed to destroy jobs”.
Going on, Gambaro told media that “up to 6000 jobs and $150 million” are on the line as Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Employment Grace Grace continue to try and push the laws through parliament.
The petition itself is addressed the the Queensland government, Palaszczuk and Grace and states that if these changes go ahead, they “will oversee one of the biggest job killers in Brisbane ever enacted by legislation.” Tough words, but they nevertheless reflect the reality of how disastrous these changes have proved to be to businesses in Sydney.
“The concerns of business owners and patrons alike have fallen on deaf ears in her office” the petition goes on to say of Grace.
Crowbar owner Trad Nathan is one of many nightlife industry figures lending their support to the petition. Posting in the comments section, Nathan speaks of the injustice of the proposed laws that indiscriminately penalise venues like Crowbar, regardless of their impeccable safety record.
“Where are the Police & Security walking & protecting the streets of the [Fortitude] Valley that have 50,000+ people through every Friday and Saturday night?” Nathan asks. “We have a responsibility to provide a safe environment, why isn’t the Queensland Government doing the same?”
“Our licenses continue to increase, I’m fairly certain we are one of the highest taxed industries also … again the Government punishing the wrong people,” Nathan points out.
Still building steam off the recent case of Cole Miller – the 18-year-old man who died in hospital after an alleged one-punch attack in the Valley precinct – the government seems intent on pushing forward with its agenda. This despite many voices with the industry calling for a more holistic approach to addressing the culture of violence at the root of our culture.
“Over 700 bands play my venue every year — all original touring local, national and international artists,” Nathan says. “We keep music and art alive in a safe community,” he continued, adding that the government should not to punish “low-risk/incident-free venues and bars because other venues aren’t practising the correct regulations and the safety on the streets is substandard.
“So support the arts, arts minister,” he pleaded
Currently sitting with 1,761 supporters at the time of writing, and with only 739 left to go, it looks like this petition will reach the target. Yet even if it does, Gambaro and those who wish to see this kind of legislation put to bed for good have a long fight ahead.
You can read or sign the petition here.