A gloomy start to one's night or a necessary evil? The Joint, Elizabeth Street, 29/08/08.
3 mounted police observing patrons queuing outside a city nightclub. How accurate were violent crime statistics when mounted police were in force during the trial period? CQ Nightclub, 11:40pm, 29/08/08.
"Thousands of people visit the City of Melbourne every week for late night entertainment. The
City's exciting range of restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, bars and adult entertainment venues
makes it a vibrant, 24-hour destination for people of all ages."
Quoted from Run a Better Venue - Melbourne Licensees Forum (PDF), Page 5, City of Melbourne, June 2007
What was the lockout?
The lockout was a three-month trial of 2am late entry bans for pub, bar and nightclub venues.
During the trial, licensees in the inner city council areas of Port Phillip, Stonnington, Melbourne including Docklands and Yarra councils could not allow patrons to enter their venues from 2am to 7am. Patrons who were already in a venue could remain until closing time but could not leave and re-enter the premises.
Licensees who breached the lockout by allowing people into their venues after 2am faced fines of up to $6800.
The size and reach of the lockout - major suburbs that were affected
Figures in brackets indicate count of pub/bar/nightclub venues in that suburb.
Included are suburbs with 10+ venues. Click on suburb to list venues. Figures taken from MelbournePubs.com 05/05/08.
KPMG was commissioned by the government to survey both venues and patrons after the lockout trial ended. It was reported that the lockout had not worked effectively and that the State Government was not going to pursue the lockout plan. In fact, it was reported that violent crime was up during the lockout trial period. On 10/11/08 it was reported that a "time-out zone" would be introduced, along with 50 extra police on the streets during weekends, in an effort to combat booze-fuelled violence in the CBD.
The renmants of the lockout were increased powers awarded to the director of Liquor Licensing to shut down targeted problem areas if need be, such as a street, area or venue, rather than a citywide or statewide lockout.
Addendum: The Liberal Party of Victoria's 2006 Election Policy
Available on the Liberal Party of Victoria's website at http://www.vic.liberal.org.au/default.cfm?action=policies_2006 under the section "Justice & Law" can be found the document A LIBERAL GOVERNMENT PLAN FOR VICTORIA POLICE: OUR STREETS, OUR HOMES, OUR FORCE.
On Page 19 of this document the following policy appears:
10. Introduce entertainment area lockdowns and venue lockouts across Victoria
A Liberal government will introduce entertainment area lock downs and venue lock outs across
metropolitan Melbourne and country Victoria to reduce alcohol related crime and violence resulting
from venue hopping.
The exact timing of lockdowns / venue lockouts, currently 3.00am in trial areas, will become mandatory following consultation with all relevant stakeholders.
How you can contribute
Read the arguments raised. Then visit one of the many websites below.
Some of the arguments raised
Webmasters & blog owners, please contact us with a digest of issues raised so that we can include them in this section.
- Restores the balance between Melbourne's vibrant nightlife and the increase in alcohol-related violence, anti-social behaviour and alcohol related health problems.
- Stops pub crawls that lead to violence.
- Reduces the amount of people 'venue hopping' late at night often after they have been kicked out of another venue.
- The majority of alcohol related violence occurs on the streets as people move from venue to venue not in the actual venues themselves.
- Late entry bans control the movement of people and allow police to target key times around 2am. This gives police a greater ability to manage people not in a venue late at night.
- The lock-out will last for five hours, giving police time to clear the streets and for drunks to sober up.
Note: Venues generally close at either 1am, 3am or 5/6/7am (it is unusual for a venue to close at 2am)
- The majority of law-abiding people punished by the actions of a small minority.
- Loss of freedom of choice.
- Reduction in civil liberties.
- Having to choose one venue for the rest of your night.
- Spoils what makes Melbourne a wonderful city.
- Death of the entertainment scene and vibe in Melbourne.
- Hospitality staff unable to go out after work.
- Shift-workers unable to go out after work.
- Bands & DJs unable to travel to late gigs.
- Not being able to meet friends at other venues.
- Venues closing after 3am selectively choosing which patrons to let inside.
- Venues closing after 3am raising cover charges.
- 1am-2am spillover period with the streets full of people.
- Queues outside venues that stay open after 3am forming before 2am.
- Still standing in a queue when the clock hits 2am leads to a large group being stranded on the street.
- Having such a large group of people roaming the streets will only add more problems for an already stretched police force.
- Queues and tension hailing taxis at 2am for those left stranded, thus now unable to continue their night.
- Queues and tension hailing taxis at 3am for those leaving 3am-closing venues, thus now unable to continue their night.
- Small-capacity late-opening venues unable to replace ejected patrons, leading to a sparser crowd.
- Small-capacity late-opening venues unable to replace patrons going home, leading to a sparser crowd.
- Increased operational costs for venues, which will be passed on to the patron.
- Loss of revenue and business for venues.
- Door staff (cashiers, greeters etc) having their hours of work cut back at least 10 hours per week.
- Loss of hospitality jobs.
- 1am happy hours at post-3am venues to lure patrons away from other, earlier-closing venues.
- Vehicle travel to non-curfewed entertainment areas - increased risk of drink-drivers & road accidents.
- Thousands of revellers descending on e.g. Moonee Ponds after 2am.
- Devaluation in city apartment prices.
- Encourages illegal after-hours bars to operate.
- No readily-accessible statistics made available to the public on violence levels.
- Overwhelmingly these issues of late night violence, anti-social behaviour, are related to late night clubs and nightclubs. Pubs are concerned that they might be unreasonably targeted in some situations.
- England removed their 11pm closing times in 2005 to stop violence.
- Bendigo 2am curfew is financially hurting venues that must close by 3:00am.
Links to related sites
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Official Protest Website
Friday, May 30 Protest
Statements from Licensees & Venue Managers
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