Criterion owner Brendan Heit says his establishment has been tough on violence since before the lockout laws came in.
Criterion owner Brendan Heit says his establishment has been tough on violence since before the lockout laws came in. Alistair Brightman

No changes to lockout laws bitter-sweet for hotel owner

AS THE State Government reaches a decision about changes to lockout laws in Queensland, Criterion Hotel owner Brendan Heit can take heart knowing business can continue as usual.

Although he says it is a little slower than it used to be.

Since the current lockout laws were introduced in Queensland last July, Brendan has learned to accept the loss of business, similarly reported by many other late night establishments across the state.

Under current legislation, the Criterion and many other nightclubs and pubs in Queensland must stop serving shots after midnight, and stop selling drinks completely at 2am.

Although new laws will come into effect next month, Brendan said they would not affect any businesses on the Fraser Coast, because none of them was part of the safe night out precincts.

"We still have to stop selling drinks at 2am, it sucks," Brendan said.

"We have lost money because of that, but it's just one thing we have to deal with."

Brendan said his establishment had always had a "hard stance" on violence, so the current laws had not improved the generally good behaviour of his customers.

"People were already behaving when these new laws came in so it didn't change behaviour at all, they haven't been good for us," he said.

"If anything it's affected our business, we've lost trade and that's about it."

Brendan said he felt like the lockout laws were punishing everyone for the misbehaviour of just a few trouble-makers.

"The majority of people are well behaved when they go out," he said.

"All bartenders in Queensland have RSAs, there are already harsh penalties for businesses and staff who serve people when they're drunk.

"I think each venue should take more responsibly , and people who do cause trouble were actually punished properly, that would be more effective [than the current laws]."

Brendan said generally patron's behaviour had been improving before the new laws came in.

"I've been working at Cri for over 10 years, and we don't have trouble there now compared to five or ten years ago," he said.

"There were fights almost every week, so people are improving their behaviour.

"It should be more about educating the people and creating a better atmosphere for everyone, rather than punishing everyone."