Otis Noble Interview - Keep Queensland Open

By Luke Byatt,

Meet Otis Noble a music lover, venue manager, and founding member of the Keep Queensland Open (KQO) movement. If you're aware of the vocal Keep Sydney Open movement, you should become familiar with KQO. State legislation in NSW restrict the lockout laws to Sydney's party districts, rather to the whole state, where as in QLD the legislation is aimed at the whole state, affecting various late night entertainment precincts. Recently the KQO movement were successful in restricting the further stages of the lockout laws. Otis talks us through the importance of KQO.

Futuremag Music: Hey Otis, lovely to finally speak to you, could you please introduce yourself to anyone who doesn’t know who you are.

Otis: Hi my name is Otis Noble, I’m a venue manager, and I’ve worked in hospitality for close to 10 years. I’m also one of the Founding members of the Keep Queensland Open (KQO) movement, that strives to abolish lockouts in Queensland, and return vibrancy to Queensland’s nightlife culture, and nightlife economy.

Futuremag Music: You’ve held one rally to fight the lockouts, whilst Keep Sydney Open (KSO) has held two, and is planning to hold a third in February. From what can be seen in the media, KQO has been more effective in fighting the lockouts than KSO; do you believe this as the case?

Otis: I wouldn’t say one has been more effective than the other, the work that Tyson (Koh) has done down in Sydney has been absolutely incredible. I think down in NSW it’s more of an attack on the local entertainment sectors, and deprivation of enjoyment, whereas up here (QLD) it’s a state wide issue, and it’s an attack on the vibrancy and rich culture of the whole state.

Futuremag Music: In regards to being a whole Queensland issue, what’s the effect you’ve seen on people coming into the venue you work at?

Otis: Because Queensland has tried to implement a two stage policy; first being no shots, or cocktails off the menu, along with other things… Followed by actual lockouts, that were supposed to be implemented in February. There’s been a damaging affect with a lot of people preloading at home, then continue to drink excessively just before midnight. I catch a lot of people sculling their drinks, then that leads to further issues later into the night/ early hours of the morning.

Futuremag Music: The lockout laws in Queensland were brought forth by the Labor held government, whilst the NSW laws were brought in by the Liberal held government; with the opposition parties in each state fighting the legislation. In your opinion do you believe this is a party based issue, or rather a response to certain issues within entertainment districts.

Otis: I don’t believe that either party has a strong enough connection to the industry to really understand the effect that the laws are having. In my personal opinion, neither party is in touch with the culture, or the vibrancy that is late night entertainment. We tried to be in contact with the State government here in Queensland, but have been met with voicemails, and a lack of communication; I expect Tyson and his team has faced the same response in NSW. When we started this project we campaigned heavily to have open communication, that as I said has fallen on deaf ears. It’s a poorly thought out policy, no one has sat down to really think about the ramifications or the response of the community.

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Futuremag Music: With such a poorly thought out piece of legislation, and a direct denial of communication what was the next step for KQO?

Otis: After six months of trying to have our voices heard, we became frustrated, and the only way we could physically reach the Premier was by turning up to her press conferences, or media events; making our voices heard there. On the other hand, the opposition party in Queenland (Liberal) has been more open to communication, I’m not sure if it is for the popular vote, or not I can’t say, but I believe that they’re more rational.

Futuremag Music: If the lockouts did go ahead, what would’ve next logical step for KQO?

Otis: The Labor government campaigned to be pro culture, pro jobs, and pro Queensland, but they lied straight through their teeth. With 6,000 jobs on the line, and the death of multiple cultural precincts I’m surprised that there isn’t more outrage. The premier has a fantastic media team that is very good at deflecting issue away from her directly. The next step would’ve been to continue to campaign, and we would’ve organised another protest.

Futuremag Music: Seeming that the stage two of the lockout laws are not progressing what are your thoughts on the current stance of the government?

Otis: I’m very happy that “stage two” isn’t going to be undertaken. I’d like to see the laws to be reverted back to how they were initially, but I’m not living in a bubble so I know that won’t happen. I believe mandatory ID scanners, and other alterations to “stage one” of the law will slightly affect venues, but it’s better than full on lockouts.