The Queensland Coalition for Action on Alcohol (QCAA) says the comprehensive evaluation of Queensland’s late-night measures has found the reforms are achieving important reductions in alcohol-fuelled harm.
The review examining the Tackling Alcohol Fuelled Violence (TAFV) measures introduced in 2016 was conducted by leading researchers and public health experts.
QCAA Chair Professor Jake Najman says the study found the drop in the number of serious late-night assaults, ambulance call outs and hospitalisations showed that restricting availability of alcohol late at night was effective in reducing harm, making a night out safer for everyone.
“This is an extremely strong ‘proof of concept’ for the Queensland Government that these measures work; but a tougher response would lead to greater reductions in alcohol-fuelled harm,” Professor Najman said.
The study showed the TAFV measures were economically cost beneficial, with the numbers of visitors to the precincts remaining stable and tourism continuing to grow. The numbers of live music performances also increased.
Professor Najman says the extraordinary levels of patron intoxication in Queensland’s late-night precincts revealed by the study explains why assault rates and hospital emergency department presentations remain at unacceptably high levels.
“With more than a third of all patrons entering the precincts highly intoxicated (blood alcohol levels exceeding 0.1 BAC), it’s no surprise too many young Queenslanders become the victims of alcohol-fuelled violence,” Professor Najman said.
The QCAA says the magnitude of success could be even greater if the government took the measures further.
“To achieve reductions in alcohol harm similar to those seen in the NSW cities of Sydney and Newcastle the government needs to strengthen the reforms,” Professor Najman said.
“The government’s decision not to introduce 1.30am last entry, the gaming of extended trading permits by venues in the precincts that results in the continuing service of alcohol until morning, and the pre-loading by patrons with cheap alcohol is working against reducing the totality of harm,” he said.