ID scanners are now mandatory for venues open after midnight in Safe Night Out precincts.
ID scanners are now mandatory for venues open after midnight in Safe Night Out precincts. Contributed

'Backlash' as Coast venues struggle with new ID scanner law

NEW identification scanners rolled out across Queensland night clubs and bars are putting pressure on Sunshine Coast businesses, as owners struggle with costly systems and public anger.

Venues that remain open after midnight in Safe Night Out precincts must scan the identification of all patrons entering after 10pm, in a state-wide legislation change that came into effect on July 1.

The scanners are intended to keep banned patrons out of all venues in Safe Night Out precincts.

Peak Wine Bar in Maroochydore's Ocean St, which stays open until 2am some nights, has installed a scanner that has already proven problematic.

Owner Colin Cameron said while he understood the change was in its "teething phase", the scanners were a financial burden and had prompted anger from patrons.

"It is very expensive to have them on board," Mr Cameron said.

"Hopefully it will improve safety."

He also hoped the scanners would keep out offenders who would damage property, effectively allowing him to recoup some of the cost.

He spent about $3500 to hire a cheap scanner for a year, but higher-end models can go for more than $6500 a year.

On top of that, Mr Cameron said he had to roster on an extra staff member to operate the machine, which he estimated would cost him $15,000 a year.

If that staff member was a security guard, the extra wages would cost him $30,000.

The business is eligible for a $4400 State Government handout to help cover the cost, which Mr Cameron described as "a drop in the bucket".

He appreciated the effort to make the precinct safer, but some aspects of the roll-out could have been improved.

"From what I can see, there's some major flaws," Mr Cameron said.

He said the scanners were slowing the flow of customers into his business, with the scan process taking 30-45 seconds, rather than the 10 seconds it would take a security guard to check the identification.

"There's been a lot of backlash," he said.

Anyone who leaves the venue, even for a toilet or cigarette break, must wait in line for the scanner to re-enter the bar.

"It is a bit of a pain in the proverbial, so to speak," Mr Cameron said.

He said the State Government should have better advertised the roll-out of the scanner, to warn patrons and explain why they were required.