BIKER NEWS: Leave tough bikie laws alone, says Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate | Outlaws Bikers News

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BIKER NEWS: Leave tough bikie laws alone, says Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate

BN- Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, tourism operators and businesses have warned the Palaszczuk government about any moves to repeal the tough...

BN- Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, tourism operators and businesses have warned the Palaszczuk government about any moves to repeal the tough anti-biker laws, saying it could scare off investors and tourists from the Sunset Strip.

When images of rival bikie chapters brawling outside a Broadbeach restaurant went viral in 2013, it highlighted the issues of gangs, drugs and crime on the Gold Coast, which has always had a bit of a shady reputation, despite being Australia's favourite holiday playground.

Mr Tate said the Gold Coast has slowly restored its reputation over the past few years, mostly on the back of the former Newman government's anti-association laws, known as the VLAD (Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment) Act, which targeted organised motorcycle gangs.

The Gold Coast is also experiencing an economic resurgence courtesy of Asian investors splurging $600 million into the city's property market in the past 12 months, something the mayor does not want to put at risk.



In a submission to the Queensland government, obtained by AFR Weekend, Mr Tate said he opposed any changes to the laws.

"Repealing or weakening of these laws, risks re-emergence of bikie gangs in the city, undoing of the great work of our police force and an irreparable damage to the city's image," Mr Tate said.

"Any recommendation of the review that would lead to perceived or tangible weakening of the legislation would go against the expectations of the Gold Coast community."

Civil libertarians criticised the draconian nature of the VLAD laws when the Newman government introduced them in October 2013. These banned motorcycle gang members from riding - or even meeting together - in public. Different critics ridiculed other aspects of the laws, including making gang members wear pink overalls in jail - a move which was later scrapped.




Businesses back the tough laws

But the laws were popular with businesses on the Gold Coast, including billionaire property developer Harry Triguboff who has major developments on the strip. He declared the crime crackdown as a major factor in the recovery of the city's property markets.

Under pressure to remain tough on law and order, the Palaszczuk government said it would keep the VLAD laws for 12 months while it conducted a review. It has appointed former Supreme Court judge Alan Wilson to lead a taskforce to look at the laws and report back by the end of the year.

But Shadow Attorney-General Ian Walker said the review was shaping more as a demolition of the VLAD laws given the terms of reference allows the taskforce the option to repeal and replace the legislation.



"Since the laws were enacted we saw a dramatic reduction in criminal activity on the Gold Coast and across Queensland," Mr Walker said.

"These laws were so successful even the South Australian Labor government most recently sought to adopt the same tough-on-crime approach that Queensland seeks to repeal. This so-called review is a farce and a charade."

Figures released in January, only weeks before the Newman government lost office, showed since the laws were introduced in October 2013, 1706 criminal gang members had been arrested on 4710 charges.

In the second half of last year, reported robbery was down 27 per cent, extortion was down 35 per cent, unlawful entry was down 20 per cent and motor vehicle theft was down 19 per cent, according to Queensland Police figures.



Safety during 2018 games cited
Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said there was nothing wrong with a review of the laws but it was important not to damage the city's restored reputation in the lead-up up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

"We want to make sure police have the capacity to ensure public safety is assured. If laws need adjusting that's up to the government, as long as they are still effective," he said. "A city's reputation is something that takes time to recover and maintain."

But Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said the LNP's laws were rushed through the state's unicameral parliament without any proper scrutiny and it was time for a proper review.

"We made it clear going into the election that we will review this legislation and we will look at it very closely," Ms D'Ath told budget estimates hearings on Thursday.

"If this legislation should be repealed or replaced with something better, that is what we will do. If it should be amended, then we will do that."

More: http://www.afr.com/news/politics/leave-tough-bikie-laws-alone-says-gold-coast-mayor-tom-tate-20150821-gj4gvj

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Outlaws Bikers News : BIKER NEWS: Leave tough bikie laws alone, says Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate
BIKER NEWS: Leave tough bikie laws alone, says Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate
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