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Gold Coast businesses call for Schoolies ban -

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ELEANOR HALL: School may be out for the tens of thousands of schoolies who've descended on the Gold
Coast, but they've still managed to earn a host of bad report cards.

A senior Queensland police officer has labelled the schoolies class of 2009 the "worst behaved
yet", in terms of intoxication. The Gold Coast Mayor has branded them a "blight" on the city and
the Gold Coast North Chamber of Commerce wants the event banned.

Charlotte Glennie has our report.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: It's that time of the year again, when tens of thousands of schoolies descend on
the Gold Coast and there are claims their behaviour is getting worse and worse.

Here's the president of the Gold Coast North Chamber of Commerce, Tony White.

TONY WHITE: I think it is disgusting and I think they should get rid of the schoolies. We don't
need them at all. It is costing us too much in different ways. It is giving the Gold Coast a
terrible image around the country.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: And the Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke says the schoolies are a blight on his city.

RON CLARKE: Well, it is worse than previous years. That is my main concern. It has just been, it
has got worse year by year even when we tried to do as much as we possibly can for them, give them
free dancing, free everything we possibly could but the schoolies gradually gets worse,
unfortunately.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: In what way has the behaviour got worse each year?

RON CLARKE: I think a greater percentage have been assaulting. There has been more fights, less
respect for the police and for the authority and so on. That is the general behaviour. They seem to
be more defiant.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: Last week was the first week of schoolies and police made more than 600 arrests.
They've also charged far more partygoers with being drunk than they did last year.

Tony White from the Gold Coast North Chamber of Commerce says the region is alienating the tourists
it wants to attract.

TONY WHITE: No other families and tourism adult people, people who come in and spend big money.
They are not coming here while schoolies go on and it doesn't just go on for a week, you get, you
have got the Queensland then New South Wales and Victoria schoolies coming up and no one else dare
go in there.

Now I have been in there during schoolies and honestly, it is a scary sort of a place.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: But while some businesses and residents want the event banned, Mayor Ron Clarke
says that's out of the question.

RON CLARKE: Well, it's again, it is like they want to ban population growth and everything else. It
is a way of life. We can't ban schoolies.

We either have to occupy them in some way and I don't know that we could do anything more than we
are doing except maybe police it better and I would like to see more activities during the day for
the kids who want to go surfing and maybe a lot more beach volleyball, a lot more beach soccer and
those sorts of activities that the kids can get involved in during the day and won't be so reliant
on just all resting up during the day and coming out and letting all their steam off at night time.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: But Tony White is unimpressed.

TONY WHITE: My response to the Mayor is that he is stupid if he takes that path and the same with
the State Government.

CHARLOTTE GLENNIE: More than $600,000 of Queensland taxpayer's money has been spent on trying to
make the Gold Coast event as safe as possible this year. Premier Anna Bligh says that's all the
Government can do. She says it can't stop schoolies from coming to the festival.

ANNA BLIGH: the reality is that all of the accommodation providers in and around the Gold Coast
make their own decisions about who they let accommodation to. What Government has to do is make
sure where there is a lot of people at one place, we have obligations to keep them safe.

So whether it is a big event like V8 racing in Townsville or schoolies on the Gold Coast, we'll
work with the police, we will work with community organisations and with schools, to keep young
people safe.

Unfortunately it is not Government that decides to send schoolies to the Gold Coast. They turn up
there in their droves and accommodation owners, you know, make the bookings.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Queensland Premier Anna Bligh ending Charlotte Glennie's report.