Schoolie Celebrations Start Off Peacefully

by Gopalan on  November 29, 2009 at 4:52 PM Lifestyle News
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 Schoolie Celebrations Start Off Peacefully
The generally riotous annual bash of the Australian school leavers seems to have got off to a relatively sedate start on the Gold Coast.

Crowd numbers in Queensland's Surfers Paradise dropped overnight and authorities were generally pleased with the behaviour of the interstate revellers.

About 3,500 school leavers attended the beach hub compared with 5,000 last year.

There were no serious incidents overnight.

But nine arrests were made compared to six from the same night last year.

On Saturday, a senior police officer said intoxication levels during the first week of Schoolies were among the worst he had seen.

Superintendent Jim Keogh said 67 Schoolies had been charged with being drunk this year, more than three times higher than last year, ABC News reported.

He said many of the teenagers were drinking alcohol in their motel rooms.

Schoolies has become a blight on the Gold Coast, says Mayor Ron Clarke, but there is nothing he can do to stop it.

He believed this year's schoolies were worse than ever and the event had become a blight on the Coast's reputation.

"Schoolies seems to be no longer about enjoying yourself -- it's about getting drunk and losing control," he told The Gold Coast Bulletin.

"There's no doubt Schoolies hurts us -- it hurts the Gold Coast, the residents and tourism and the publicity only attracts more hoons and the like to the area."

However, the Mayor regretted the council could not consider cutting funding to manage the event as it could prove damaging to tourism.

Premier Anna Bligh said it was the Government's job to make the event safer and it was up to local businesses to regulate their own involvement.

"Schoolies will always flock to the Gold Coast to celebrate the end of Year 12 and it's local businesses, employing local workers, who make the decision to rent the rooms," she said.

"As a government, it's our role to make it as safe as possible and that's why the event is now more organised with more supervision than ever before."

Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach Chambers of Commerce president Laura Younger said the business community was split over the Schoolies issue.

"There's always mixed opinions when it comes to Schoolies because it is exceptionally lucrative for some and devastating for others," she said.

"If you are a hotel, liquor store or fast food outlet, you are all for the event but there will always be those people who would like to see it moved on."

Ms Younger said many businesses were ecstatic to hear of a decline in numbers at this year's event and supported the trend for schoolies to travel to other locations, including Byron Bay and the Sunshine Coast to celebrate.

Source: Medindia

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