A 24-YEAR-OLD Bundaberg man has become the first in Queensland to be banned from all licensed venues in his community after an alleged violent and drunken attack on Bundaberg Hospital staff which resulted in the lock-down of the emergency department.
In a bold decision made by members of the Bundaberg Bargara Liquor Accord, Queensland Health and Bundaberg Police, the man has been banned from all 14 Bundaberg pubs and clubs following the incident in March.
Bundaberg Police Acting Inspector Erwin Hoffmann could not go into the specifics of the incident because it was still before the courts, but said the emergency department in particular was not immune to alcohol-fuelled and violent outbursts, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights.
"It's very frustrating for police. As you can imagine, there are a lot of other matters that require our attention," he said.
"I just can't grasp how people attend a hospital and then have to threaten staff, assault staff, damage property when they're there looking for help."
Bundaberg Bargara Liquor Accord chairperson Rory O'Connor said it was the first time a ban of this nature had been enforced.
"It was put to the table and all licensees didn't condone the behaviour (of) this person at the hospital and therefore we decided to ban him," he said.
Police Minister Jack Dempsey said the ban sent a clear message to those "pains in the neck" who deliberately set out to cause trouble at the hospital.
"Any assault on a health worker is an assault on the community," he said.
"Alcohol-fuelled violence at the Bundaberg Hospital will not be tolerated and there will be consequences."
Mr Dempsey said any person who now stepped foot inside the hospital and threatened staff and patients with their drunken behaviour would face only the toughest of consequences.
"Queensland Health workers at the hospital have had enough of idiots coming in here and thinking they can abuse staff, and it's not good enough," he said.
"The message is clear - if you think you can come and play up at the hospital, or any other licensed establishments, and put pain and suffering unto other people and try and disturb their peace, well, that time is finished."
Since the Liquor Accord initiative was started in 2008, 300 people have been banned, at different times, from Bundaberg licensed venues.
"Year on year, the number of bans has reduced by 30%, so it is working," Mr O'Connor said.