Central, Club on Bligh's list

CENTRAL Hotel owner Barry McKee is infuriated that his club has ended up on a government list of 41 licensed venues throughout the state that have to prove why they should continue to use glass.

According to the state government, show-cause notices will be issued to pubs and hotels that have recorded incidents of glass being used as a weapon creating injury in the past 12 months.

The two Bundaberg venues picked out by the government - the Central and the Club - both insist they are already phasing out glass for their late sessions.

The Central Hotel has moved to using plastic in its beer garden and after 10pm serves most drinks out of plastic, or tempered glass that breaks like a car windscreen instead of shattering.

Central Hotel owner Mr Kee said: “I stress on all my staff members the environment I want for patrons is to have fun and feel safe.”

“All my staff are told constantly, and it's in our standard operating procedure, that we will not tolerate bad behaviour.”

He said the courts needed to punish people who committed glassing crimes.

Club Hotel manager Paul Fagan said he knew nothing about the show-cause notice until he was contacted by the NewsMail yesterday.

“We haven't had any charges laid as a result of a glassing incident in the past year,” Mr Fagan said.

“We switched over to plastic glasses (after 10pm) for safety reasons eight or nine weeks ago.”

Mr Fagan said his hotel had been pro-active about public safety and ensuring patrons enjoyed alcohol responsibly.

“Some people don't like drinking out of plastic, but the bottom line is, it's for safety reasons and we take that very seriously,” he said.

“If we can take away that little bit of extra risk for patrons, it's better for everybody.”

He said some stubbies would still be available in bottles but 90 per cent of drinks sold would be glass-free.

Premier Anna Bligh said the government was determined to crack down on glassing incidents throughout the state.

“Glassing destroys lives - it is a disgraceful, cowardly act which often results in the permanent disfigurement of victims,” she said.

A spokesman for Liquor Licensing minister Peter Lawlor said the show-cause notices were posted yesterday and would start arriving in letter boxes today.

“The information we used was received from police,” the spokesman said.

“If venues have already swapped over to plastic, we can check it is all within our guidelines and they should be fine.”

Bundaberg and Bargara Liquor Accord vice-president Lloyd Finnis said clubs that had already changed over to plastic should not be on the list.

“Most of the clubs have used their own initiative to move to plastic,” he said.

“So I don't understand why the government has put them on the list.

Bundaberg Police Inspector Kev Guteridge said the Queensland Police Service supported any initiative to enhance the safety of the public.

“We have had a number of glassing incidents in Bundaberg but we are fortunate that it is not as many as in other cities,” he said.

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