Now the government wants to breathalyse punters inside clubs

Update 22/06: The Queensland Government has denied they’re planning to conduct random breath tests in clubs. More here.

Queensland clubs may soon be forced to count patrons’ drinks or risk fines of up to $56,000, under a new State Government plan to breathalyse punters inside licensed venues.

Queensland Attorney General Yvette D’Ath told the Gold Coast Bulletin that the measures would take place under a proposed plan from the State Labor Government to reduce “alcohol-fuelled violence”. If the plan is implemented, police could breathalyse club-goers and fine owners if patrons are continually found to be “highly-intoxicated”.

“Allowing police to breathalyse drunken patrons will help them to build cases for prosecution for court,” Ms D’Ath said, adding that a consultation would continue to determine the definition of “high alcohol content,” but that “police consider a blood alcohol reading of 0.15 to be highly intoxicated.” The numbers of drinks that results in a 0.15 reading differs from person to person, depending on their sex, weight, height, metabolic rate and a range of other factors.

Unsurprisingly, club owners aren’t happy about the proposal. “These laws are draconian,” Joey Lamttina, Managing Director of the Gold Coast’s Platinum nightclub, told inthemix. “Venue operators [already] have the most strictest laws to abide by and we do. Patrons need to be held accountable for their actions.”

The measure is just part of Labor’s controversial plan to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence, which was first proposed while the party in opposition last January. Currently all Queensland venues have a 3am lockout, and some areas – such as the Valley in Brisbane – have voluntary earlier lockouts. Under the new plan the State Government wants to enforce 1am lockouts and 3am closing times at all venues in Queensland, along with measures like banning shots and strong drinks after midnight.

There hasn’t been a date set for the start of the controversial new legislation, but Gold Coast Bulletin reports that it believes the Government plans on having the new laws in place by November. [Article image by Walter Vroegop.]