Every person who enters a Queensland club should be able to enjoy themselves and feel safe but for the last year our focus has also been on keeping our communities COVID Safe.
Queenslanders will always be grateful for the efforts and sacrifices clubs and their staff made to change the way they’ve operated to keep us safe while continuing to provide services in their communities. Your efforts have helped put Queensland in a great position – health-wise and economically.
But while the recent priority has been on COVID recovery efforts, we know that the responsibility to keep patrons safe extends far beyond the pandemic.
It starts by having a positive and proactive approach to the responsible service of alcohol and gambling. As I travel the state it’s wonderful to see clubs working together with support services and implementing local initiatives to reduce harm.
The Queensland Government has made a strong commitment to harm minimisation through the Tackling Alcohol Fuelled Violence strategy, the introduction of Safe Night Precincts and boards that promote the safety of the community, and liquor accords that support harm minimisation and tackle local issues. We also fund Gambling Help Queensland – a vital service that provides help to those experiencing gambling problems and their families.
As a central part of our communities, patrons gather at your venues for many reasons, and with that comes a responsibility and opportunity for you to care for fellow Queenslanders.
While our venues may be doing all the right things to ensure people are enjoying themselves safely, there are occasions where people will find themselves in a situation where they don’t feel comfortable, supported or safe.
As Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month approaches in May, it is timely to remember important initiatives like Ask for Angela.
Ask for Angela is a patron safety campaign that began in England pubs in 2016 and has since spread around the world. The campaign aims to help women who are concerned about their safety when visiting a pub or club. This could be because a date hasn’t gone as expected, or a violent partner or ex-partner has interrupted a night out.
Patrons approach staff and ask for Angela, and the staff member hearing the question knows to take them to a safe location, help them get home or offer other support where they can.
Ask for Angela is just one of the programs available to community clubs, joining for example Clubs Queensland’s Say Yes to Respect campaign which is also aimed at supporting those experiencing domestic and family violence.
I congratulate Clubs Queensland for supporting and promoting these initiatives. By doing so you are helping to create cultural change and have set a great example to the wider community.
It is up to all of us to take a stand when it comes to family violence and I thank you for your efforts to make a difference in our communities.
This is a wonderful example of a collaborative approach to support the safety and wellbeing of Queenslanders.
COVID-19 has placed many stresses upon members of our community, so I encourage you to continue to be mindful of these and consider how you can support vulnerable patrons.
Last month we celebrated Queensland Women’s Week (QWW) with the theme ‘Celebrate our present. Own our future’. QWW runs once a year, but there are opportunities every day to challenge stereotypes, gender equality and bias, and celebrate the achievements of women – especially in the workplace.
Women have a rich history in the sector and have played a large part in making it what it is today, both behind and at the bar. From them, we can see lessons for gender equality and respect that are still relevant today - whether you draw your inspiration from Rosalie Bognar and
Merle Thornton chaining themselves to the public bar in Brisbane’s iconic Regatta Hotel in protest of women not being allowed to drink there, or pioneer women like 27 year old unmarried convict Sarah Bird who was granted a liquor licence in 1797 after accumulating the capital to finance her business by acquiring small quantities of tea, sugar, needles and snuff during her passage and then selling it, at very high prices, in her new hometown.
More recently, we’ve seen the appointment of the first woman to hold the position of Queensland’s Commissioner for Liquor, Gaming and Fair Trading – Victoria Thomson. She continues the tradition of women forging a path for other women in the industry and I’m pleased to have the opportunity to work alongside her.
I trust that we will continue to challenge stereotypes as we work towards a safer and stronger Queensland.
Visit Clubs Queensland "Ask for Angela" campaign information here .