'Unemployment will skyrocket': Nightlife community slams Queensland's lockout laws

Natasha Christian and AAP

From July, Queenslanders won’t be able to get a drink past 3am if they’re not in a casino.

The state government persisted through a long, emotional and fiery debate over the lockout laws early this morning.

Labor celebrated the last-minute deal as it secured the Katter’s Australian Party MPs support, this secured the lockout legislation’s success.

The LNP accused Labor of ‘self-righteousness’ and ‘cherry-picking’ from research as the government blasted the opposition for not supporting the measures.

Nightclub and pub owners have been left to seriously consider their future as they will now have to stop selling alcohol from 2am, with an extra hour allowed for those in entertainment precincts.

Labor conceded to a delay in implementing the 1am lockout, two hours earlier than the 3am one present, until February next year.

Casinos will remain exempt from the legislation, like NSW. The Palaszczuk government argued drinking was not the main activity there.

The laws will ban rapid consumption of shots after midnight, but may consider excluding shots of spirits that don’t come with ‘risque names’.

However, like in Sydney, nightlife supporters, workers and business owners feel they have been let down by the plans.

Lobby group Our Nightlife Queensland has already labelled the laws "draconian", saying they will cost jobs and business.

Nick Braban from Our Nightlife told 7 News the anger was yet to sink in for many yet.

"It's sadness and disappointment," he said.

“Jobs are going to be lost, businesses will close, musicians will struggle for gigs, youth unemployment will skyrocket,” he said.

The debate and the legislation belonged to Stafford MP Anthony Lynham, who joined the party on the back of its commitment to support lockout laws.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Tuesday afternoon relayed anecdotal evidence that compared scenes on the streets in the early hours to "war zones".

"I've been to the hospitals, I've spoken to the paramedics who've been bashed, I've spoken to the police who are out there in the early hours of the morning basically in war zone situations," she told 612 ABC Brisbane.

Mr Katter made no apologies for KAP squeezing what it could out of the government for its votes.

"We have our priorities and the government have theirs - we have been able to reach a position that we feel is a compromise for both sides of the argument," Mr Katter said.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath opened the debate on Wednesday afternoon by paying tribute to those who inspired the law change.

"I stand here today to honour those who have lost their lives, those who have endured serious injury through alcohol-fuelled violence," Ms D'Ath said.

"(And) their families, their friends, their work colleagues who will never be the same because of these violent incidents related to alcohol."

Shadow Attorney-General Ian Walker countered by saying the government could not rely solely on emotion to promote its laws, arguing there wasn't enough evidence to indicate they would reduce rates of violence.

"As legislators, emotion is not enough, and while emotion has to motivate us and direct us in our thoughts, it's the head that has to rule when we look at legislation," Mr Walker said.

More than 40 MPs from both sides of parliament spoke in the debate before the laws were passed.

The changes are likely to attract some community opposition, just like the reaction to similar laws in NSW.