Queensland budget: Premier Steven Miles announces new night-life commissioner role to revitalise state night-life

Queensland will have its own dedicated nightlife commissioner in a bid to revive the state’s struggling 24-hour live entertainment economy.

Premier Steven Miles announced the new role on Monday – just a day before the 2024 National Budget is passed.

Mr Miles said the new nightlife economy commissioner, supported by funding from the budget, would work with local businesses, live music venues and entertainment centers to “create a vibrant and safe environment for nightlife”.

“Our nightlife economy helps generate millions each year and supports jobs across the country, in small businesses, the arts, entertainment, tourism and more,” Mr Miles said.

“Queensland is already home to some of the best bars, restaurants and live entertainment venues in the country and creating this role will only make it even better.

“A thriving and safe night-time economy means a thriving city – one that keeps our young and brightest in good jobs, which is what Queensland is all about.”

Brisbane nightlife will be a major focus of the commissioner’s new role, but Mr Miles said the role was designed to bring change and “economic growth” to all communities – “whether it’s supporting a local pub in Toowoomba, the music festival in Cairns, or the places of nightlife on the Sunshine Coast’.

The Commissioner will work with industry representatives to support, promote and advocate for key aspects of the nightlife economy.

It is understood this could include a review of the use of ID scanners across the city, along with laws to lock out licensed venues.

In 2017, the State Government scrapped proposed changes to the laws that would have enforced a 1am closing time at licensed venues.

The government is also reviewing its Safe Night Zones initiative – a program aimed at tackling drug and alcohol-related violence in nightlife.

CBDs in Brisbane, Cairns, Broadbeach, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Ipswich, Mackay, Rockhampton, Surfers Paradise, Toowoomba and Townsville are part of Safe Night

county initiative, along with Airlie Beach, Fortitude Valley and Caloundra, Maroochydore and Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast.

Queensland Small Business Minister Lance McCallum said he did not want to see a repeat of restrictive laws introduced in Sydney by the NSW Liberal Party to combat alcohol-fuelled violence, which he claimed had “irreparably stifled their night-time economy “.

“Queensland’s nightlife economy has always outdone itself on the national and international stage; It boasts iconic live music venues, theatres, arts, entertainment, festivals, hospitality, nightlife and tourism activities that make our cities vibrant cultural hubs and economic powerhouses,” he said.

Sydney’s notorious lockout laws were launched after the horrific one-punch death of Thomas Kelly in 2012.

The legislation effectively stipulated a 1:30 a.m. lockout, a 3 a.m. last drink deadline in bars and clubs, and a 10 a.m. closing of bottle shops.

In 2019, an inquiry into the scheme said there had been a 7.1 per cent contraction in the economy and a “potential opportunity cost” of more than 2,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in lost turnover.

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