The trade-off for lock out laws

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News of a deal between the Palaszczuk government and the Katter party to support the lockout legislation has sent rumours flying as to what else the party has been promised.

With both Shane Knuth and Robbie Katter quickly changing their minds about the lockout laws, it is no surprise a list of demands was brought forward.

Parts of the deal publicly disclosed includes setting up a Working Queensland Cabinet Committee meeting in Mount Isa and Charters Towers to fund for mental health programs.

The party also wanted to see “real action” take place on regional Queensland’s 15 per cent unemployment rate, adding that the impact of drugs in entertainment precincts be recognised.

A compromise on the much-debated lockout introduction meant one more vote than it needed for Labor to pass the laws.

The bill has been heavily debated this afternoon and in an interview by the Courier Mail with Mr Katter, he stands by his decision, saying they had a duty and obligation to do what they could for the region as power brokers.

“We have a commitment to address a lot of these employment issues in our area which will eventually lead to investment,” he says.

“So this is part of a state-wide conversation, this is not us being narrow-minded; this is us trying to look after the best interests of the state.”

The deal sees lockouts introduced in a staggered process, with last drinks set at 2am across Queensland and 3am in designated entertainment zones.

The 1am lockout which was due to begin by this, will be pushed forward to February next year.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers welcomes the news even with the controversial compromise in place.

He says it is still the same laws implemented, just with a transition period now.

“Anything is better than nothing. Everyone knows my stance from 2009, the taps should have been off and everyone was to leave at 2am,” he explains.

“That was my initial submission and I stand by that.”

On the other side of the fence, secretary of Our Nightlife Queensland and club owner Nick Braban told Courier Mail that he was extremely disappointed with the decision, believing jobs will be lost and youth unemployment will sky rocket.
“All of the reliable evidence that Labor and Katter’s Australia Party rely on for justifying this policy point to the fact that lockouts are not the main driver of crime reduction, trading hours are,” he says.

“Industry was ready and willing to accept reduced trading hours but the lockout itself is a bad policy.”

Nick went on to explain that the lockout law blow will disappoint people across all regional areas and not just in south-east Queensland.

A vote is due to be held at the end of this week’s parliamentary session with an independent review of the laws from July 18.