Government ‘can’t just walk away’ from Schoolies

 

THE Queensland Government "can't just walk away" from incoming Schoolies after canning official events while not committing to a safety response, a fired-up Surfers Paradise MP says.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk axed the official celebrations amid COVID-19 fears, as a cluster linked to a Brisbane corrections facility continues to grow.

Advance bookings have already been made and last week accommodation operators begged for clarity around whether to keep taking them or not.

Ms Palaszczuk on Friday axed official state-supported events and her office said security arrangements were "up to operators" as Mayor Tom Tate urged any Schoolies to stay home but said he was concerned they would turn up anyway.

Surfers Paradise MP John-Paul Langbroek is now demanding an explanation about how the "last minute" cancellation will work.

LNP Member for Surfers Paradise John-Paul Langbroek. Picture: Jerad Williams
LNP Member for Surfers Paradise John-Paul Langbroek. Picture: Jerad Williams

"(The State Government) can't just walk away from their responsibilities," he said.

"It begs the question, whether the Chief Health Officer has to tell accommodation houses they can't rent their rooms out. That's what happened at the peak of the pandemic.

"They can't just say, 'that's it, Schoolies is cancelled', and wash their hands of the whole event."

He added while there had been a growing trend of better behaviour among Schoolies in recent years, he was still deeply concerned about a wild minority.

"There's a bunch of people (…) who will come and wreak havoc," he said. "They just won't abide by any rules or regulations. Without any of the safety stuff, who knows what it's going to end up like.

"Only the formal part has been cancelled. They're saying, 'You can celebrate, it'll just be different'. Well for a lot of them it won't be different.

School-leavers have been asked to stay COVID-safe. Picture AAP/David Clark
School-leavers have been asked to stay COVID-safe. Picture AAP/David Clark

"They're not going to social distance, they're not going to practice hand hygiene and they're not going to stay home if they feel sick, because they're hungover and feel sick every day."

Mr Langbroek posted questions to social media at the weekend, asking about police support, accommodation refunds, if it was realistic to expect Schoolies to abide by social distancing and other frontline services. The Premier's office replied: "We provided answers to exactly these questions on Friday."

The cancellation has sparked serious concerns among the Gold Coast community, where last year some 20,000 school-leavers were partying.

Schoolies was scheduled for November 21-December 11.

Originally published as Government 'can't just walk away' from Schoolies


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