Schoolies
Schoolies

Mayor’s radical plan for Schoolies

GOLD Coast Mayor Tom Tate reckons school leavers should party online by using video chat services like Zoom instead of rocking up to the city's iconic Schoolies celebration this year.

While the State Government has not revealed plans to shut down the popular event in the coronavirus crisis, those who have booked accommodation could face a rude shock.

"If (chief medical officer) Dr Jeannette Young says it's not on, it's finished," Cr Tate said.

"You're the technology people. Maybe you use Zoom or whatever it is, social media, to do Schoolies like that from home.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate’s suggestion may not go over particularly well with school leavers hoping to celebrate in the city this year. Picture: Jono Searle/Getty Images
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate’s suggestion may not go over particularly well with school leavers hoping to celebrate in the city this year. Picture: Jono Searle/Getty Images

"Together with police and volunteers, we've got that plan and we can roll it out. But the ultimate decision will be from the chief health officer."

The Government does not organise Schoolies, an "organic" event, but it does oversee the safety of thousands of people who descend on the Gold Coast to let their hair down each year.

Other large events later in 2020, such as the Gold Coast 600, have already been cancelled.

Asked if Schoolies would be allowed to go ahead, Child Safety and Youth Minister Di Farmer said: "The plan for the 2020 Safer Schoolies Gold Coast Response will be decided and communicated based on expert health advice and best practice for keeping school leavers and the community safe."

"The Queensland Government doesn't organise Schoolies.

"Our job is to make sure the Schoolies environment is as safe as possible for young people.

"I'd call on all Queenslanders to do the right thing now and into the future including following health advice, maintaining social distancing and staying COVID safe."

School leavers party on a Sunday night during Schoolies celebrations in 2019. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling
School leavers party on a Sunday night during Schoolies celebrations in 2019. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling

While the rite of passage which first started in the late 1970s is tentatively locked in, that could change depending on the developing COVID-19 situation and Dr Young's advice.

Schoolies.com, a centralised booking site for Coast schoolies and those heading to other destinations, states "at this stage it's business as usual for 2020 Schoolies".

Scooter riders out and about during Schoolies last year. Picture: Jerad Williams
Scooter riders out and about during Schoolies last year. Picture: Jerad Williams

The site, which includes a countdown clock, states "there are currently no restrictions that have been put in place by government over the dates of your holiday that will restrict you from celebrating Schoolies with your friends".

The booking website guarantees a "full refund" if government restrictions prevent school leavers from checking in to accommodation before February 28 next year.

Major Events Gold Coast CEO Jan McCormick said her organisation "didn't have anything to do with Schoolies".

Originally published as Mayor's radical plan for Schoolies



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