Liquor licensing rules to shake up nights out
CONTROVERSIAL new liquor licensing laws are just around the corner but concerns are growing that pub-goers aren't aware of the changes.
From July 1, all licensed venues except those within a defined Safe Night Precinct must call last drinks at 2am, with a 30-minute window to finish drinks.
The Toowoomba Safe Night Precinct stretches from the Shamrock Hotel on Ruthven St to The Office on Duggan St to The Irish Hotel on Russell St, the Spotted Cow on Ruthven St and Fitzy's on Margaret St.
The changes mean earlier last drinks and closing times, and restrictions on what type of alcohol can be served after midnight.
Venues within the Safe Night Precinct (SNP) will call last drinks at 3am with a 30-minute grace period to finish drinks.
Drinks such as shots, shooters, bombs, test tubes and jelly shots will be banned from sale after midnight as will any drinks made at the venue with more than 45ml of spirits or liqueur.
Pre-mixed drinks with more than five per cent of alcohol will also be banned after midnight.
There will be no lock-out imposed from July 1.
SNP Toowoomba president Brad Fitzgibbons said: "I think it's a step backwards for people who like going out and the late-night crowd.
"It won't affect 95% of people who attend licensed venues but the 5% that do frequent after 3am, they still need to be catered for as well."
Cocktails can still be served after midnight but only if they have been listed on a menu and the price remains unchanged.
Beer, wine and champagne can still be served and standard mixed spirits such as rum and coke, gin and tonic, and bourbon and dry can continue to be served up to closing time.
Licensed SNP venues can still apply for 12 one-off extended trading permits to 5am per year.
Licensees will pay for extra security to patrol footpaths and taxi ranks after the State Government failed to fund extra resources in affected zones.
"The government hasn't allocated any more resources to manage it so it's a local thing that we have chosen to manage," Mr Fitzgibbons said.
"A lot of the other precincts around the state are just shutting their doors and saying it's not their problem to deal with it.
"We don't think that is necessarily the best way to attack it, and we have always been a pretty proactive group."
Two teams of three security officers, paid for by the venues, will monitor taxi ranks.
"The current situation is there is a 3am lockout which means to have to be in Agenda or The Cube before 3am and that's why it works well already," Mr Fitzgibbons said. "Now they have been brought back into the fold, it might change people's patterns."