Out-of-control party sparks 'sex in gardens' debate

AN OUT-of-control party in Harlaxton has reignited the heated debate about the controversial liquor lockout laws put in place from July 1.

Multiple police units were called to a house party in Gleeson Cres with up to 200 people spilling out onto several other streets.

Toowoomba Police Sergeant Dan Curtin said officers received numerous reports of disturbances and damage to property and were on the scene immediately.

"The people holding these parties need to take more responsibility for who attends and their conduct," he said. "Residents were frightened."

Four people were arrested on Saturday night with offences including public nuisance, possess dangerous drug, obstructing police, wilful damage and stealing.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said the party started close to 7pm and didn't finish until about 3am.

He described a brawl like a tornado sweeping through the street and said police officers had barricaded four other streets.

Another resident said people made their way as far as Ruthven St.

A Doyle St resident said she was too scared to sleep.

Toowoomba North member Trevor Watts regularly speaks out against liquor lockout laws.
Toowoomba North member Trevor Watts regularly speaks out against liquor lockout laws. Bev Lacey

The out-of-control party comes as controversial liquor lockout laws legislation is just months away from coming into effect.

The Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Amendment Bill passed in State Parliament in February.

The legislation means Queensland venues will call last drinks at 2am across the state from July 1.

Then by February 1 next year Safe Night Precincts will call last drinks at 3am, with a 1am lockout.

A Toowoomba politician is concerned new lockout laws will lead to people having "sex in the gardens". Does he have a point? http://ow.ly/YrPQ8

Posted by The Chronicle on Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Member for Toowoomba North Trevor Watts expressed concern that Saturday night's events could be a sign of things to come.

Mr Watts, an opponent of the law, earlier this year warned it could lead to people having "sex in the gardens".

"This is my fear that instead of the culture where everyone goes to bed early, we end up with a culture of everyone having private parties," he said.

>> Lockout laws: MP warns of 'sex in the gardens'

"Ultimately what I warned the government would start to happen is that the culture will shift not away from alcohol consumption but to alcohol consumption in dangerous and unpredictable circumstances."

Mr Watts said from his long-time experience in the security and management of clubs, he knew licenced venues were the safest outcome.

"Venues with fire evacuations, that are in contact with police, have 30-40 cameras and first-aid trained staff are a safe environment. Someone's domestic residence is not and my fear overall with the way legislation is going is that we will drive people to private parties that will fall out of control."

Police investigations into the wild party on Saturday night are ongoing. Anyone with information should call 1800 333 000.

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