LABOR’S move to water down the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) Bill is a mistake, and any changes to the laws are set to detrimentally impact the city’s reputation as a place to live, work and play.
The laws, established in 2013 after the infamous bikie brawl in Broadbeach, have cleaned up the streets and that is evident in the lack of activity around outlaw motorcycle gang members in public places across the city.
The inability of gang members to assemble or exercise their influence by wearing club colours has seen a new level of safety in all suburbs of the Gold Coast, from the hinterland to the beaches.
Most importantly, the VLAD laws have made it much more difficult for bikie gangs to gather, thanks to the Rapid Action and Patrols Taskforce (RAP Squad), which was assembled to tackle organised crime.
There were eight active club-houses when the RAP Squad was established, now there are none, meaning gangs are unable to take advantage of the strength they have as a club.
The Labor Government’s review into Organised Crime Legislation, which includes the much debated VLAD laws, was handed to Attorney General Yvette D'ath today, although it won't be released to the public until next week.
The Queensland Taskforce on Organised Crime Legislation, which conducted the review, was instructed to ‘advise how best to repeal, or replace by substantial amendment’ the legislation.
It is obvious the agenda of Labor, and it is expected the review will recommend the VLAD laws be repealed by the Palaszczuk government, igniting concerns outlaw gangs will regroup and again exert their power throughout the city.
YP Gold Coast shares these concerns, with fears the most prominent groups including the Hells Angels, Bandidos, Nomads and Finks, are set to receive a leg up from the weakened laws.
The question YP Gold Coast wants to ask is why fix something that isn’t broken? Since the inception of the laws, there is greater certainty flowing through the city.
Tourism is on the rebound, which of course is a reflection of a bunch of different factors, however it is partly due to returning confidence that the Gold Coast is a safer environment for visitors.
The bikie brawl in 2013 was broadcast by news outlets all over the world, damaging the reputation of the Gold Coast as a place to holiday. Now, these motorcycle gangs are not even given the opportunity to mingle, let alone brawl on the streets of the city.
In addition, international education is now a major contributor to the city’s economy and it is vital the Gold Coast portrays a safe and stable reputation in order for this growth to continue.
In 2018 the city is set to be launched onto the world stage, as the Commonwealth Games hits the shores of our city, and the image projected must be one of safety and security.
YP Gold Coast is in full support of the VLAD laws and urges the Labor Government to continue a tough and strict stance on organised crime.
Should the VLAD laws remain or be repealed? Have your say on the issue and comment below.