The new ID scanners in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley have caused longer lines at some clubs. (ABC News: Meghna Bali )
There is no shying away from it — most punters are not happy with the new laws.
As of today, people looking for a drink inside key Queensland venues after 10:00pm must have their identification scanned on entry.
Plenty has been said about how the changes will make Queensland safer, so ABC News took to the streets to find out how it all went down during their first test.
Many clubs reluctantly used the scanners for the first time last night, and received a backlash from patrons.
The technology allows venues to share information about problematic patrons and prevent them from re-entering another club or bar — a decision made by the Queensland Government to combat alcohol-fuelled violence.
Agitated patrons waited in snaking queues to get into Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley hotspots and those who had stepped out for a cigarette were made to scan their IDs again, making lines yet longer.
Single security guards at smaller venues were visibly overwhelmed with the extra work, with one bouncer describing himself as a “glorified babysitter” because he was not allowed to leave his post.
Where is ID scanning compulsory?
Affected entertainment precincts in the state include 10 Queensland CBDs, inner-west Brisbane, Surfers Paradise, Airlie Beach, Sunshine Coast and yes, most of Fortitude Valley in Brisbane, so for the capital city think every club and bar between Capulet and Sixes and Sevens.
Tomcat Venue Manager Callum Moore says the scanners have increased queues. (ABC News: Meghna Bali )
Are queues going to be an issue?
The word on the street is yes.
Tomcat venue manager Callum Moore said they’ve been trialling the scanners ahead of tonight’s rollout, and the dry runs had revealed problems.
“One of the immediate issues I see are at the larger venues like The MET and Prohibition … their queues are going to extend down beyond the end of the street, I can guarantee it,” he said.
Sarosh Mehta, chairman at the Caxton Street Development Association, said venues near inner-west Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium would face unique crowd concerns.
“You can imagine the massive number of people who turn up on our doorsteps after the gates at Suncorp open up at 10:30pm [after an event],” Mr Mehta said.
“It’s great for business, but if you’ve got to line them up and scan them all … well, you can try to imagine what a challenge that would be.”
Max believes the ID laws will reduce underage drinking because of the number of fake IDs. (ABC News Meghna Bali)
Do people feel safer?
Yes and no.
Patrons outside popular Valley club Prohibition said the laws were necessary.
“Everyone knows just don’t be a dickhead and you won’t get banned … I think it’s a good thing,” said patron Tiara.
Hamish Gibson said while some people agreed the new regulations would prevent violence within clubs, many feared banned and agitated patrons would just create a nuisance on the streets.
“It’s a win-lose situation,” he said.
Others said the scanners made them uncomfortable because of their ability to track which clubs people were visiting.
Andrew Evans lost his driver’s licence earlier this year but said he has never had a problem getting into a club because he is 36, until now.
“I agree with the laws, but I think I look old,” he said.
“I think one punch can kill, but I’m not going to punch anyone so I just walk around without ID.”
Patrick, who turned 18 yesterday, said he was in favour of the ID scans.
“I couldn’t be happier with the scanners, I love the idea … it keeps the under-age out,” he said.
Some patrons said the scanners made them uncomfortable because it could track which clubs people were visiting. (ABC News: Meghna Bali )
You’ve handed over your ID, what happens now?
Every time your ID is scanned at a venue, your name, date of birth and photo are cross-checked against a database of people who’ve got a banning order against them.
If you match, you’ll be barred from entering the venue and the system will distribute those details to regulated premises in Queensland.
And if you’re out on bail, the system will also send an email to police stating you tried to enter the venue.
Many bar owners like Matt Emerson from Caxton Street’s Brewski have vented their frustration at the State Government’s “one-size-fits-all” approach.
“The cost of installing scanners, maintaining them and the guards makes this totally financially unviable,” Mr Emerson said.
“We usually don’t have a guard on the weekend because we’ve worked pretty hard to create a safe environment for everyone, and now we’re being lumped in with everyone else.”
When can I be refused entry?
There are three ways an individual can be barred from entering a venue: If an automatic or manual scan indicates you’re on a ban list, if you fail to produce photo ID (even if you clearly look over 18), or the scanner is not working.
There are three types of banning orders, including court bans imposed as a condition of bail, police bans, and those enforced by individual venues.