Surgeons push for “earlier last drink” law reforms

The recent tragic deaths, by a single punch to the head, of 18 year old Cole Miller, and four weeks earlier Trevor Duroux, in the entertainment precincts of Brisbane and the Gold Coast, are a clear call for action to reduce alcohol related harm in Queensland.

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) urges the Queensland government to adopt a proven range of alcohol harm prevention measures based on the modest reduction in last drinks times and the 'one-way door policy' to prevent further tragedies in Queensland.

RACS echoes the sentiments of the president of the Queensland Law Society Bill Potts who said yesterday that only prevention, not punishment, would end the carnage.

For every coward punch death, trauma surgeons manage fifteen other brain injured victims of alcohol related harm in Queensland. Many of these require brain surgery, intensive care and rehabilitation.

Many are permanently brain injured for the rest of their life. Research has shown that more than 70 per cent of these attacks involve alcohol. Results of similar laws implemented in Sydney's King's Cross and Newcastle have seen a decrease in the number of hospital admissions for serious assaults and an increase in new businesses despite warnings of the opposite from industry.

In particular, further research suggests that every hour of reduced trading can result in a 20 per cent reduction in assaults. RACS Queensland Committee Chair, Professor Owen Ung, said that as recent tragic and avoidable events have proven, there has never been a more urgent time for the laws to be given immediate effect. Public safety must be put above politics.

We need effective statesmanship and a bi-partisan approach free from undue liquor industry self-interest and interference. "There is no better time than now for the LNP, Katter Party and Independents to prove their support for the families of these victims by expediting the much needed alcohol law reforms through the Queensland Parliament."

About the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) RACS is the leading advocate for surgical standards, professionalism and surgical education in Australia and New Zealand. The College is a not-for-profit organisation that represents more than 7000 surgeons and 1300 surgical trainees and International Medical Graduates. RACS also supports healthcare and surgical education in the Asia-Pacific region and is a substantial funder of surgical research. There are nine surgical specialties in Australasia being: Cardiothoracic surgery, General surgery, Neurosurgery, Orthopaedic surgery, Otolaryngology Head-and-Neck surgery, Paediatric surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive surgery, Urology and Vascular surgery.

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