Zodiac Nightclub manager Rod Leonard has been pushing for later nightclub closing times for special events.
Zodiac Nightclub manager Rod Leonard has been pushing for later nightclub closing times for special events. Amber Hooker

Knock back for extended hours during food and wine festival

ROCKHAMPTON'S Zodiac nightclub manager, Rod Leonard, says later nightclub closing times could prevent alcohol-fuelled violence and control drunken behaviour.

With Capricorn Food and Wine Festival kicking off today, Mr Leonard had hoped to provide extra hours at his establishment on Saturday night.

However, this week his application to extend the closing time from 3am to 5am was rejected by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.

The Commissioner of the Office cited that the application did not meet the legislative requirements of being "for a reasonable time after a special public event, as required by sections 103IA(3) and (5) of the Liquor Act 1992”.

"I think that's unfair considering other venues have been granted later closing times,” Mr Leonard said.

"We've had it before (for Beef Australia 2018) and there were no incidents and people were enjoying themselves.

"They don't give out many extended hours but the ones we do have, we make an extra $3-$4,000 a night and have no dramas or incidents.

"We might not even go through to 5am, it could be 4am or 4.30am, but those extra dollars and not kicking people out on the street has always been positive and my argument.”

Mr Leonard raised concern about Procedural Fairness in his application, referring to a number of previous local events that permitted later closing times.

During Beef Australia 2018, venues in Rockhampton were permitted 5am closing times after festivities concluded at midnight.

For Rockhampton River Festival, entertainment wrapped up at 9.30pm and Giddy Goat Cafe Bar was allowed a 5am permit.

"What's the difference between this event and the River Festival?” Mr Leonard said.

Mr Leonard argued that later closing times keeps intoxicated customers under the watchful supervision of the nightclub's extensive security staff.

"Kicking them out at 3am... there's 800 people out on the street in an uncontrolled environment,” he said.

"Shutting later... I think it decreases alcohol-fuelled violence.”