Australia: Drinking Problem

I recently read news about the government’s plan to impose a 1-hour earlier closing time for pubs and clubs in the state of Queensland. Currently, a lock-out time is 3am (which means people cannot enter entertainment venues after 3am, even though they have been inside before) and shutting time is 5am. The proposed plan aims at reducing the risk of alcohol-fueled violence, which is very common in Queensland by the way. But many young people oppose this plan, of course — and try so hard to stop the government not to impose it.

When I was in Brisbane, I used to live in the center, between the city center and the Fortitude Valley. I remember how unsecured I was to be walking alone at 9pm or even earlier during the weekends (and by the way, Fortitude Valley was the most dangerous place to be in Brisbane at night). People got drunk on the street. Screaming. Laughing. Threw stuff. Fighting. I heard and saw those. It was a scary scene. I loathe to take a night train or night bus because I can smell the alcohol from far away. It’s disgusting! Not to mention to hear those people screaming and swearing! For some reasons, when they got drunk, they became really crazy. And really scary!

How come I’ve never seen the kind of scene in the Netherlands? (Oh I hope I’ll never encounter this!). But still, I sometimes come home at 12am or 2am and I feel okay. I’m always careful, of course; but I’ve never seen such crazy drunk people on the street.

Anyway… after reading the news, I discovered this article titled “A wake-up call to all Australians – not just ‘apathetic’ youth”. I need to cite a number of paragraphs here:

What is staring us in the face is the one thing nobody wants to address – Australia’s drinking culture.

It sounds scary I know, and even worse it’s not an issue reserved purely for the ‘apathetic’ youth. I hate to rain on anyone’s parade but Australia has a drinking problem and it’s about time we took a real hard look at ourselves.

The damage alcohol causes to Australians is all too clear, with 1500 hospital admissions each week and 3,000 deaths per year. Not to mention the increasing public concern of lawless cities spurred on by regular reports of alcohol-related assaults, knifings and glassings. I doubt that a lockout is going to fix these problems, nor will increased police presence. What we’re in need of is a big old shake up.

It’s a scary thing. 1500 hospital admissions each week due to alcohol damage?!?! That’s insane.

Well, I agree with the author; earlier lock-out doesn’t solve the root of the problems. And I bet that violence on the street will likely to increase if the premises are to be shut down earlier. More people will get drunk on the street rather than on the pubs or clubs and that’ll certainly create more problems!

The government runs a survey whether many people would agree on the proposal of earlier lock-out. We’ll see what the end result would be. But I think they won’t make it a go 😀