Brisbane City Council Meeting Minutes
30 July 2019
That this Council:
- a) reiterates its motion in this Chamber on 7 February 2017, opposing the State Government’s introduction of lockout laws;
b) notes recent independent research and media coverage, and reiterates Council’s long held views, that the State Government’s lockout laws:
– are failing to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence;
– continue to have a negative impact on Brisbane’s night-time economy;
– are detrimental to small businesses, job prospects, and Brisbane’s night-time economy;
– have led to an increase in concerning behaviour, such as ‘pre loading’;
c) calls on the State Government to repeal their lockout laws.
Chair: All right, further speakers to the notified motion.
Councillor HOWARD: Thank you, Chair. Chair, it should come as no surprise to anyone in this Chamber that I strongly support this motion. This is a motion that we should not have to be spending time on today. Sadly, here we are, yet again, today raising this important issue because the State Labor Government are hell-bent on destroying Queensland’s nightlife and are hell-bent on ensuring Queensland is Australia’s nanny State. Chair, last week’s spin from the Labor Attorney‑General, and let’s call it for what it is, spin, again shows that the Labor Government doesn’t listen, doesn’t learn and doesn’t support the many thousands of people who work so hard to grow our night-time economy and enhance the culture of this New World City.
When the Labor Government first mooted these laws back in 2015, I joined thousands in making very clear the devastation that would ensue on the businesses, residents, artists and places that these laws seek to conquer. We warned them that these laws would have a shattering impact on Brisbane’s night-time economy; that they would force businesses to close; that they would cause job losses and as many experts had warned, would lead to an increase in pre-loading. Unfortunately, Chair, they fell on deaf ears and you don’t have to be Sherlock to know, Chair, that they have done exactly that.
I take absolutely no pleasure or pride in standing here today in this Chamber, after four years, having witnessed these warnings go unheeded by Labor; having witnessed the countless businesses struggling to survive; having witnessed our community lose talented artists to places elsewhere; having witnessed the countless job losses. Our community is at a loss. What will it take for Labor to listen? We have all read the reports and seen the results and, Chair, the evidence is damning.
These ham-fisted laws have not seen a reduction in violence but have instead seen a dangerous increase in pre-loading and drug-taking. They have punished the majority for the sins of a few and still the issues these laws claim to address have not improved. Make no mistake, these laws have unequivocally failed to realise the change that Labor so naively claimed it to be capable of—
Councillor HOWARD: These laws have destroyed family small businesses and seen many young people lose their jobs. These laws have seen talented Brisbane artists forced to go interstate to hone their craft. These laws have seen tourists stopped from entering our bars and clubs and, as Councillor MURPHY said, let us not forget the international embarrassment that ensued would Queensland and Brisbane became a laughing stock around the globe when His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark—
Councillor HOWARD: —a future King, was refused entry to a bar. All because Labor thinks you need a scanning machine to tell you whether someone will cause trouble or not. His Royal Highness was, and is clearly, no threat to anyone but you don’t hold your breath waiting for Labor to understand that without first arming them with one of their beloved scanning machines. You’ll surely lose consciousness before Labor listens to reason. Enough is enough, Chair. When will this arrogant State Labor Government admit they were wrong—
Councillor HOWARD: When will they side with small businesses, young people, musicians and entertainers? I must admit, Chair, it pains me to admit that I fear they never will. I fear that they have dug their heads so deep into the ground that they are immune to listening to any evidence or rational discussion on these laws.
Chair, as you know, I love my area and I love enjoying its many wonderful venues. Just like last Friday, when I was delighted to see the Deputy Leader of the Opposition at the opening of the Fortitude Music Hall. Chair, as you know, the Fortitude Music Hall is a stunning, world-class, new venue that strengthens Brisbane’s position as Australia’s New World City. It’s a venue that strongly enhances the work we have done to ensure the Brunswick Street Mall and the Valley remain a mecca for life music and artistic expression.
From what I saw, Chair, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was certainly having a great time last Friday, as were we all. The opening was a great celebration and provided a wonderful opportunity to catch up with many people who have worked so hard to grow Brisbane’s night-time economy.
One thing I heard consistently on the night was that the Labor Government just doesn’t get it that these laws have failed. It was absolutely heart-breaking to hear again local traders tell me how these laws have had a negative impact on their businesses. How these laws are causing unnecessary expenses; how these laws are stopping them from opening longer; how these laws are stopping them from employing more people; how these laws are stopping them from booking more local talent. To hear over and over again our hard-working local traders tell me how they feel helpless; helpless because despite their best attempts, the State Labor Government just won’t listen and remains intent on continuing to dance to its own failed beat.
So, as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition was enjoying himself last week, I hope he took the time to listen to the many venue operators and workers in attendance and hear how these botched laws continue wreak havoc on Brisbane’s night-time economy. How these laws continue to cause job losses and how these laws continue to damage our city’s reputation. I hope he listened and I hope he takes great care and consideration to taking their views on board. I hope that he will now stand in solidarity with them.
I challenge him to take the fight up to his besties in 1 William Street and to challenge them to do the right thing, to honour the residents he has solemnly sworn to serve and fight for them. Because if he doesn’t, I fear for many residents, businesses, workers, and artists who continue to be subjected to these misguided, ineffective laws. Because if he doesn’t, he will prove that he, like others in his party, are steadfast in their determination to ensure that Brisbane becomes a city of dampened potential, where people spend their nights at home watching Netflix with a large bag of Twisties, rather than enjoying a rocking night out to great bands like DZ Deathrays.
He will prove that he doesn’t care about Brisbane’s night-time economy, he will prove that he doesn’t support small business and he will prove that he doesn’t support local artists—
Councillor HOWARD: He will prove yet again that he doesn’t care about jobs and that he doesn’t care about the 99% of the population who do the right thing. He will prove what we already think; that he is all bark, and no bite. Chair, from the Triffid to the Tivoli and from RG’s to Birdees, this Administration continues to work hard, together with local businesses, to ensure the Valley continues to grow and be Brisbane’s entertainment mecca. We do this in the face of the draconian laws that our community is forced to endure. We strongly support Brisbane’s night-time economy and those who have invested their blood, sweat and tears to make Brisbane what it is; to create an environment to work, rest and play. I call on the State Labor Government to scrap these ridiculous laws now.