Bar Link chairman Mark Laffin (left), Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan, Mackay Taxis’ Gary Button, Mackay police Inspector Andy Graham and street chaplain Rev Ann Dittmar-McCollim discuss the State Government’s Safe Night Out Strategy in the CBD.
Bar Link chairman Mark Laffin (left), Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan, Mackay Taxis’ Gary Button, Mackay police Inspector Andy Graham and street chaplain Rev Ann Dittmar-McCollim discuss the State Government’s Safe Night Out Strategy in the CBD. Tony Martin

Region's leaders welcome crackdown on alcohol and drugs

THE city's leaders have welcomed a State Government crackdown on drug and alcohol-fuelled violence as Mackay and Airlie Beach join 15 locations to trial a Safe Night Precinct concept.

The Safe Night Out Strategy will build on initiatives already rolled out across Mackay to reduce violence around licensed premises.

The strategy's draft action plan includes tougher penalties for people behaving badly or violently around licensed premises, a new offence of unlawful striking and maximum penalty of life in prison for coward's punch deaths and compulsory alcohol and drug education in all Queensland schools.

City Safe Mackay committee member Councillor Chris Bonanno praised the strategy. He said City Safe Mackay, community members, street chaplains and licensed premises had worked hard in the past few years to crack down on street violence.

"I think we're a lot better than we used to be, probably for a number of reasons… through education, through initiatives that City Safe has been involved in, through implementation of the street chaplain service, and definitely the economy has played a role in that.

AM Bar and Mackay Grande Suites general manager and Bar Link chairman Mark Laffin said Mackay had seen a drop in violent, alcohol or drug-fuelled attacks in the past two years. He attributed this to strategies implemented by licensed premises, including video cameras and identification scanners.

Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan said the new strategy would focus on the people who commit the crime, rather than those out to enjoy a great, safe night.

A copy of the strategy is available at http://www.qld.gov.au/safenightout.

Safe Night Out Strategy

  •  15 Safe Night Precincts statewide.
  •  Compulsory alcohol and drug education in schools.
  •  Empowering police to issue banning orders.
  •  Mandatory ID scanners.
  •  Extension of decisions about late-night trading hours.
  •  Tougher penalties for alcohol-fuelled violence, including on-the-spot fines.
  •  Maximum penalty of life in prison for coward's punch deaths.

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