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No schoolies, but dozens of police head for Coast to ease border burden

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Police from around Queensland will be dispatched to the Gold Coast for Schoolies Week as local police are too stretched with the state’s border closure and hotel quarantine to deal with the end-of-school celebrations.

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Gold Coast Police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said police from around Queensland would have to police the mass parties as school leavers continued to book accommodation for the November party festival despite the cancellation of official Schoolies Week activities.

Booking site Schoolies.com, that arranges Schoolies holidays for over 30,000 schoolies each year, has continued to promote bookings “for the best week of your life” on the Gold Coast even though the party week was officially cancelled by the State Government in August due to pandemic restrictions.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk banned all official events, including concerts and beach parties, as too risky in the COVID environment.

“We’ve got a lot going on in the COVID response and our business as usual so we’re actually drawing on other areas of the state to come down and police that event and make sure that’s a really safe environment for everyone,” Wheeler told ABC radio.

“We already have plans around the number of police that we will be bringing down. Most of the resources will actually be external to the Gold Coast district.”

Wheeler said police anticipated high numbers of school leavers would still descend on the Gold Coast, despite the cancellation of events.

As a result, police expected a lot of private unit parties on top of partying at licensed venues, he said.

“This year will look completely different, it will be a different environment in that there will not be those diversionary activities,” Wheeler said.

“We will be working with hotel operators and licensed venues to make sure they are doing the right thing.”

Wheeler said Gold Coast police continued to lead on border control and hotel quarantine for people arriving into Queensland from COVID hotspots.

“We’re in this effort for Queensland, it’s not just the Gold Coast,” he said.

“The system in place in the Gold Coast is very robust.”

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