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TURNING HEADS: Ben Whitty is hitting Coast nightclubs to DJ and he's only 16. Contributed

Coast venues throw open doors as lockouts ditched

SOME of the Coast's most prominent late-night venues have ditched early-hours lockouts and cast open their doors to revellers wanting to come and go as they please until 3am.

A number of venues have opted against a voluntary lockout, after the State Government reversed its plan to implement a 1am lockout for venues within designated Safe Night Precincts.

Mooloolaba ALH Group venues O'Malleys Irish Bar and The Helm nightclub at The Wharf Tavern have been spruiking their new, no lockout venues.

"Helm has no lock out, so come in right through until 3am every Thur, Fri, Sat," one Facebook post on the nightclub's page read.

Meanwhile Level 2 Nightclub in Maroochydore has also ditched the lockout, facilitating movement for partygoers in and out until 3am.

"As of tomorrow we no longer have a lockout in place, come in and out to party right up until 3am," its Facebook page read.

Do you think removing lock-outs in safe night precinct venues is a good idea?

This poll ended on 27 May 2017.

Current Results

Yes. It was too restrictive and they weren't going to be effective.

8%

No. It'll lead to a rise in violence.

8%

Why can't they extend trading hours to 5am and let people take themselves home?

82%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

With designated Safe Night Precincts in Caloundra, Maroochydore and Mooloolaba CBDs, the way has been paved for more venues to follow suit.

Dimi Limnatitis owns Solbar and a number of other Ocean St venues.

He said they weren't using the removal of lockouts as a promotional tool, and his security personnel were still not allowing new entries after 2am, in a bid to maintain safety.

He'd been "quite happy" with the 1.30am curfew, but when the lockout plans had been reversed, they'd been left with little choice but to relax their policy slightly as other venues in safe night precincts scrapped lockout.

"Our guards know to still be cautious after 1.30am who they let in," Mr Limnatitis said.

His comments came after a successful two-month security trial in Ocean St, funded by the State Government, which provided two security guards from 9.30pm-4am on Friday and Saturday nights.

In communication with police, venue security and Safe Night teams, the added security guards have been able to provide rapid, more mobile response to any incidents.

The Safe Night Out Sunshine Coast trial was part of a six-month State Government-funded program to help improve public safety, deter anti-social behaviour and reduce alcohol and drug related violence within the Maroochydore Safe Night Precinct.

Safe Night Out Sunshine Coast president and Sol Bar Group managing director Alex Johns said the safety trial had helped with the out-of-sight areas along Ocean St as well.

"The new SNP security initiative is helping provide additional public safety away from the 'line of sight' of the venues around Ocean St and we are working closely with members of Queensland Police Service (QPS) and other community support providers," he said.

"One of the priorities is to discourage pre-loading and antisocial behaviours in the potentially problematic car park areas."

ALH Group's Queensland state manager Stephen Clarke declined to comment when asked about lockout changes.

A Sunshine Coast Council spokeswoman provided the following statement this evening:

Sunshine Coast Council is supportive of initiatives that address the safety and wellbeing of its residents and visitors to the region. 

Council sits on the Sunshine Coast Safe Night Precinct (SNP) Public Safety Consultative Committee (PSCC) which is made up of state and local government and community stakeholders who provide advice and assistance to the Sunshine Coast SNP local board. 

Members include representatives from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation, Queensland Police Service, emergency services (ambulance and fire), Transport and Main Roads, local Members of Parliament and council. 

Through regular consultation with members of this committee and the SNP Local Board, council is aware of licensed premises within the Sunshine Coast SNP requesting the removal of lock-out conditions from their liquor license. 

The Sunshine Coast SNP Local Board in consultation with the PSCC are currently delivering a number of initiatives from their Management Plan to assist with community safety within the Safe Night Precinct.

Council will continue to work with the SNP Local Board and the CALM Liquor Accords to ensure effective local management of the regions hospitality precincts.



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