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  • Crispin Till

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    TNQ rejects becoming new capital for Schoolies

    Could Cairns take over from the Gold Coast as party central for the annual Schoolies Week celebrations?

    For the first time, body corporates at some of the biggest unit towers in Surfers Paradise are lobbying the State Government to put a stop to Schoolies on the Gold Coast. 

    Fed-up Glitter Strip apartment owners are calling for a Schoolies “exit strategy” within three years.

    When TropicNow asked Cairns Regional Councillor Richie Bates if Tropical North Queensland could take over from the Gold Coast, he wasn't exactly keen on the idea.

    “I think the first thing we would want to have a look at are the problems associated with Schoolies on the Gold Coast,” Cr Bates said.

    “Unit owners on the Gold Coast don’t want it and that is a concern. I would not be jumping automatically to say bring it on in Cairns.”

    A group representing Gold Coast body corporates submitted a 'dirt file' to the State Government detailing violence and drug-fuelled mayhem at last year’s festival.

    The group wants to meet with Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman to push their case for an end to the event.

    Gold Coast residents say what went on inside apartments during Schoolies 2016 was a disgrace and the dirt file lists noise complaints, drug overdoses, violence, sexual assaults and damage to rooms, common areas and swimming pools.

    The State Government and Council of the City of Gold Coast coordinate a comprehensive safety and support services program for the Gold Coast Schoolies festival.

    This includes supplying Schoolies with official wristbands to access the Schoolies Hub and a range of support services to help keep school leavers safe.

    Cr Bates said our strong tourism brand shouldn't be associated with "problematic, underage drinking and the issues associated with Schoolies week".

    “We also have to be careful that this is a large number of people to bring into our town when there is already demand for extra beds," he said.

    “Schoolies also has a reputation that could potentially scare other tourists away.”

    Cr Bates, who is a long-time supporter of youth events in Cairns’ CBD, said some school leavers were already marking the end of year 12 in the idyllic surrounds of TNQ.

    “There is nothing to stop school leavers now booking accommodation in Cairns, we are not stopping that,” he said.

    “The issue is how do we fix the problems associated with Schoolies now.

    “If we have discussions with the State Government, local government, emergency services and Schoolies organisers, it could be that the Gold Coast can still host Schoolies.”