Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has vowed to get tough after a recent brawl between bikie gangs at a Gold Coast smoothie shop.
As well as announcing new laws clamping down on bikies, the Premier said that his government would introduce tighter regulation of smoothie shops.
“Smoothie shops have long been an eyesore in Queensland,” said Mr Newman. “They are ugly, brightly lit palaces of sin where large groups of young people – often with tattoos – come to drink at all hours of the day and night. As the recent incident shows, they are also places where bikies congregate. Enough is enough.”
As well as imposing late night lockouts for smoothie shops, Mr Newman said that an important issue to address was the long waiting times for drinks.
“If you have a lot of thirsty people waiting five minutes for a smoothie, there’s bound to be trouble. What the bikies did at the Gold Coast was unacceptable but current practices at smoothie shops did not help things.”
Dirk Handoff of the Australian Hotels Association has welcomed tighter regulation of smoothie shop operations.
“I wouldn’t want my daughter going to a smoothie shop,” said Mr Handoff. “They’re full of undesirables, there’s no security presence and you can’t be sure what’s been put in your drink. Young women in particular are much safer in a properly regulated venue like a pub or nightclub.”