Queensland Lockout Laws Could Cost 6,000 Jobs

Statewide lockout laws introduced July 1 as an attempt by the Queensland, Australia, government to tackle alcohol-related violence in and out of nightclubs and music venues saw trade drop in the first two weekends.

From July 1, alcoholic spirits were banned after midnight and other drinks could be served only until 3 a.m. but venues could remain open until 5 a.m. In February 2017, trading hours will be narrowed to 1:30 a.m. According to a report by radio network triple j’s “Hack” current affairs program, trade at Brisbane venues was down 17 percent compared with the same period in 2015, and down 24 percent in the week before the lockouts began. Nightclubs that had planned to stay open until 5 a.m. reported that customers began to leave at midnight.

Maxwell Pickering, owner of The Bedroom club, revealed, “We are definitely losing money.” The Our Nightlife Queensland association’s Nick Braban said that already venue staff had work slashed by between 20 to 30 hours a week, and expected 6,000 jobs would be lost unless the government reversed its decision. Queensland’s venue operators are gloomily predicting a similar result to Sydney’s once-thriving live music scene when lockout laws were introduced in the city’s entertainment precincts in 2014.

A report issued by the Live Music Office and rights collection agencies APRA AMCOS found a 40 percent drop in venue revenues, a dozen closures, and a 19 percent decrease in foot traffic in the affected precincts.