November 19, 2013

The State Government has moved to bar more occupations from involvement by members of banned motorcycle clubs.

As well as tattoo parlours, members and associates of outlaw motorcycle clubs identified under legislation will be forbidden to hold a liquor licence, work in security (including locksmiths), drive tow trucks, work in building and construction, or work as pawn brokers, secondhand car dealers, or bookmakers.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the expanded regime would make Queensland safer.

A State Government media release identified these industries as being “infected by criminal gangs” and in need of cleaning up.

“The criminal gangs have their fingers in many pies and target unsuspecting Queenslanders, but their members will soon be banned from having or applying for licences in a range of industries,” Mr Bleijie said.

“We promised Queenslanders that we would get tough on crime after years of Labor inaction allowed these gangs to flourish.

“They take over legitimate businesses and use them as fronts for their crimes and even further their intimidating activities.

“They have infiltrated industries that come into our homes and businesses and profit from car thefts and break and enters.

“Police have told us they even extort innocent people by demanding exorbitant fees after towing their cars illegally.

“Queenslanders should have confidence that the operators and workers in these businesses are trustworthy.

“These latest reforms will restore credibility to a range of industries and build on the many changes we have already made in the past 18 months to get tough on crime and revitalise frontline policing services.

“We promised Queenslanders at the election that we would do this and we are delivering.

“Relevant departments will be able to conduct a fast, simple cross check of current or prospective licence holders against police intelligence relating to criminal gang members.

“The only way for criminal gang members to operate in these industries is if they resign their membership and start leading law-abiding lives.  This is their chance to get real jobs and end their illegal activities.

“Those who try to game the system by resigning simply for show will only be delaying the inevitable. If they continue to act like thugs, the authorities have the power to investigate them and revoke their licences.”

Mr Bleijie said the changes only relate to people in these industries who already require a form of licence.

“For example, the licensee of a restaurant or bar would be subject to a criminal gang check but his or her workers would not,” he said.

“We are ensuring Queenslanders can have faith in these industries with no inconvenience to law-abiding licence holders.”

Mr Bleijie said the changes were designed “to combat the slippery nature of the criminal gangs”.

“As expected, the gangs have done everything they can to get around our new laws and, as promised, we are amending the legislation accordingly,” he said.

“Bail provisions will be amended to ensure gang members can’t step around the system simply by resigning their membership.

“We are sending a clear message to criminal gangs that they are not wanted in Queensland.

“In less than two months, more than 281 criminal motorcycle gang members and associates have been arrested and charged with more than 560 offences.

“We will do whatever is necessary to ensure criminal gangs are kicked out of Queensland.”

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