Concerns over schoolies’ new party central
Schoolies celebrations have come under fire after a weekend of mayhem on the Sunshine Coast.
The annual festival on the Gold Coast was cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic, but hordes of teens have instead converged on the Sunshine Coast.
Noosa's world famous beach was closed on Sunday morning after a huge party the night before left the sand littered with broken bottles, while teens have been arrested and fined for misbehaviour ranging from misdemeanours to assaulting police horses.
The Gold Coast has maintained traditional police and emergency personnel staffing levels for the week, but schoolie numbers are significantly down, with many instead heading north to Noosa where they have been left without official entertainment programs.
Destination Gold Coast chairman Paul Donovan said this year's gathering reinforced the need for a co-ordinated response from authorities.
"You can't stop the kids from going somewhere, but you don't want them running amok," he said.
"What we've seen on the Sunshine Coast with the beach getting trashed is terrible.
"If there's going to be schoolies, it needs to be organised."
Member for Surfers Paradise John-Paul Langbroek, who posted a video of huge crowds gathered on Noosa Beach, said: "It seems like the State Government's left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.
"For months we've been told that these decisions have been about keeping Queenslanders safe, yet all that seems to have gone straight out the window since the election."
Tourism Noosa CEO Melanie Anderson said reports from police had been mostly positive for the week, but she expected the Schoolies festival to return to the Gold Coast next year.
"The Gold Coast is most definitely the home of Schoolies and there is no doubt that schoolies will return in droves to the Gold Coast in 2021," she said.
"What we have seen (in Noosa) has been mostly positive and we ask schoolies to continue to respect our beautiful location while the are visiting us."
A State Government spokesman said authorities had been relatively satisfied with the behaviour of most school leavers.
"It's been a tough year for our Year 12s," he said.
"They deserve to celebrate (and) police are out in force ensuring they do this in a safe and responsible manner.
"The decision to cancel formal Schoolies events was made based on the best, most up-to-date information we had at hand.
"For the most part, both Queensland Health and police have been satisfied with the behaviour of school leavers."
Originally published as Concerns over schoolies' new party central