Unless you've been hiding underneath a rock, you would already be aware that Scott Hutchinson (Chairman of
Hutchinson Builders) has not held back when it comes to his views on the recent introduction of the QLD Lockout Laws. In the lead-up to our first CurioCity Event on the 22nd September '
QLD Lockout Laws - The Importance Of Nightlife In Creating Vibrant Cities', The Urban Developer sat down with Scott to get an insight into his stance on the laws.
1) You have been quite vocal to date about your views on the lockout laws being introduced to QLD, what drives that passion?
My passion is purely driven by my love of going out to see music in Brisbane and seeing how music has been flourishing in Brisbane over the decades I've been enjoying it. I just can't believe the government can't see the link between venue opening hours and culture. I have been desperately trying to fund a Livid festival return since 2003 but have been unsuccessful. I have really only lived in one town all my life but I go to 8 or 9 music festivals a year here and overseas.
2) You run one of Australia's largest privately-owned building and construction businesses. Why is nightlife important to you and the industry?
The nightlife in Brisbane has nothing to do with my day job. This campaign has nothing to do with money or my work. I am just a punter who doesn't have many other interests except music. I feel I can't just sit by while they demolish Brisbane like they are demolishing Sydney night life and culture. It certainly doesn't do Hutchies any good for me to be the poster boy for fighting these laws, but we all have to do what we can.
3) How do you see the introduction of these laws impacting nightlife economy for the future?
Again, you only have to look at Sydney. Venues will close, people will do other things and drink in their houses, artists will move to Melbourne and Brisbane will be Dubbo, but with no zoo. It's not about the economy, it's about life itself. For people who never go out, it probably won't make much difference at all.
4) You co-own Brisbane venue ‘The Triffid’, how have the laws affected business since the introduction?
I am only the landlord at Triffid and had no artistic input into its concept or design. Hutchies just took the financial hit so it could become a music venue. It cost us about $5.5M to put together and returns about $160,000 per year and then we pay about $50,000 land tax out of that. Triffid shuts at about midnight so it won't directly affect it in the short term, but as our culture and artists leave, then there will be less local talent to showcase. Triffid was never about money. We had the opportunity to sell it for more apartments in 2013 but I was so excited by John Collins' (Powderfinger Bassist) music concept, so we chose to do what we have done.
5) How do you see these laws impacting Brisbane’s reputation as a potential ‘New World City’?
Brisbane can't be any sort of special city with just a late night Casino culture and I reckon even the casino operators understand this. I can't get anybody to argue against me except the odd government stooge and one stupid person who linked her alcoholic ex husband drinking under her house to venues being open late in the Valley. She wants gambling outlawed, as well.
6) Do you think the lock-out laws will be repealed or watered down? If so, when?
I don't know, but I think young people are starting to get fed up with our generation telling them what they can and cannot do and they don't vote along party lines, but the damage is being done right now. Brisbane culture will eventually prevail but probably not before it is severely damaged. The unique vibe that exists in places like Fortitude Valley is very fragile and even though it took years to develop, it can disappear quickly. Every year Brisbane holds Australia's music conference Bigsound due to the unique Fortitude Valley situation and I can't see it staying here. Melbourne will steal it. The sad thing is that people will be less safe, not more.
7) What links do you see between the introduction of the laws and the future of the development industry in Brisbane?
I don't know because I am not a developer, but Brisbane being less vibrant and interesting makes me think there will be less activity. What's the use of living in the inner city/valley if nothing is happening there?
8) Do you find it concerning that the major voices in support of the lockout laws aren’t willing to join a moderated conversation about how it will affect our city?
It didn't surprise me at all that you couldn't get anyone to talk for the crazy laws. The Victorian government can't believe their luck. Sydney's nightlife and culture is crumbling, Melbourne's is thriving, so our government follows Sydney. I can't believe it, but I will do anything I can do to stop it and I have never been politically motivated in my life. How cynical is a government that gives gambling more rights than music? I will keep on dressing like Oliver Cromwell at rallies until people understand what I mean.
Scott will be joining us on an expert panel, as we delve further into how the QLD Lockout Laws will affect Brisbane and it's potential as a 'New World City'. Held at The Triffid on the 22nd September, the panel includes Cr. Vicki Howard/Central Ward, Nick Braban/Our Nightlife QLD, Joel Edmondson/QMUSIC and Alastair Leighton/AECOM.
If you're as passionate as we are about Brisbane's culture and future, we implore you to join us for a drink and what will no doubt be a healthy and insightful discussion about the future of our city.
Registration is free and open to all, and will include some of Brisbane's best live music to follow.