Enjoying a night out in Brisbane isn't a simple affair, and hasn't been for some time. Sure, knowing where you're heading is straightforward enough — or, maybe you like to see where the evening takes you — but thanks to Queensland's ever-changing lockout laws, knowing when you can enter and re-enter, when last drinks will be served and when curfews kick into effect isn't always as easy as it should be. And now that July 1 has arrived, a new factor comes into play: ID scanning.
In January, the Queensland Government announced that they wouldn't be going ahead with 1am curfews, the second component of their most recent lockout plan. Instead, they embraced the idea of ID scanners to record and store the details of all patrons entering venues in the state's 15 entertainment precincts — or Safe Night Precincts. In order to trade past midnight and serve drinks until 3am, nightclubs and other watering holes in the designated areas now have capture the IDs of every customer that stops by after 10pm.
Here's how the mandatory system works: when your ID is captured by the venue's networked scanners, they make record of your name, date of birth and photo, and cross-check it against a broader database. If you've been banned by another place, the courts or the police, you'll be refused entry — and the system will also notify other bars, pubs and clubs in the Safe Night Precincts.
ID scanning covers patrons both entering and re-entering after the cutoff, so if you're inside a bar, go outside for some fresh air and then try to get back in, your ID will scanned again. And if you refuse or fail to produce photo identification, you'll be barred from entering.
The laws apply every night of the week — not just the weekends — and absolutely everyone endeavouring to step inside a venue in the Safe Night Precincts has to comply, regardless of how old they are. If you thought your days of whipping out your ID were long behind you, think again. In fact, everyone who likes a night out best get used to flashing their chosen form of identification around much, much more often.
The areas in question cover 238 licensed venues across the state, such as the Brisbane CBD, Fortitude Valley and inner west Brisbane (including Caxton Street); the Ipswich CBD; the Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach CBDs on the Gold Coast; and the Sunshine Coast including Caloundra, Maroochydore and Mooloolaba. Further afield, the CBDs in Airlie Beach, Bundaberg, Cairns, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and Townsville are also impacted.
Unsurprisingly, the new scheme isn't popular with venues. Indeed, some — such as Gambaros, Brewski and Fritzenberger on Caxton Street — are surrendering their late-night licenses and winding back their trading hours to midnight to avoid abiding by the ID scanning requirements, The Courier-Mail reports. Earlier in the week, Brisbane Times noted that six places had refused to sign up, while the ABC found that trial runs have unearthed a number of problems.