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No extra police for Sunshine Coast as Schoolies migrate north to celebrate

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Gold Coast police say Schoolies resources won’t be redeployed to the Sunshine Coast despite school leavers shunning the glitter strip in favour of lower density Noosa.

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Gold Coast police say Schoolies resources will not be redeployed to the Sunshine Coast despite thousands of school leavers shunning the glitter strip in favour of lower density locations like Noosa.

Since the 1970s, the Gold Coast has been the go to destination for many Year 12 school leavers who want to party and celebrate with friends.

In August, the Queensland Government cancelled official events, including beach parties, due to the risk of COVID-19 being spread at mass gatherings.

The chief executive of the Accommodation Association of Australia, Dean Long, said Schoolies are abandoning the Gold Coast and heading to the Sunshine Coast.

The CEO said the majority of accommodation on the Gold Coast is down at least 80 per cent and Schoolies, like all tourists, are looking for a COVID-safe experience.

“A lot of the Gold Coast attractions are based on non-social distancing activities,”  Long said.

“Whether it be going out to pubs and clubs and high density experiences, those other destinations are able to offer lower density experiences.”

Gold Coast police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said they were still preparing for an influx of revellers.

“The anecdotal evidence we’re hearing is there are less end-of-year people likely to be coming down, but we’ve got to plan for the opposite,” he said.

“We will always plan for a worst-case scenario.”

Chief Superintendent Wheeler said he will not be redeploying any of his officers to the Sunshine Coast.

“It’s very, very unlikely that we will be sending resources external to the district,” he said.

“The district officer in that area [Sunshine Coast] will make an assessment, he’ll be looking at the information and the intelligence that’s coming in, and he’ll make his request.”

Noosa preparing

Visit Noosa chief executive officer Melanie Anderson said businesses and accommodation providers were working together to welcome school leavers to the region at the end of the month.

Ms Anderson said around 4,000 schoolies are expected in Noosa this year, up from the usual 1,500.

The CEO said extra security will ensure there are no beach parties.

“Usually the students that want to come to Noosa are really just up for a beach holiday,” Ms Anderson said.

“A bit of a flop, rest on the beach, and enjoying the environment, so we’re hoping that’s what all 4,000 will be wanting to do in a couple weeks’ time.”

Grant Mifsud, a partner at strata organisation Archers, said Sunshine Coast resorts will be hiring security guards to help cope with the increased numbers.

Mifsud said resorts have reported a flood of bookings between November 21 and 28, and some are also offering free accommodation to Red Frog volunteers to assist.

– ABC / Tom Forbes and Nicole Dyer

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