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Monday, 1 December 2008
Page: 12049

Mr ROBERT (6:49 PM) —The humble red frog has been the icebreaker at Schoolies Week for the last 11 years, since its introduction on the Gold Coast in 1997. Starting with only 80 kilograms in the first year, Red Frogs Australia will distribute over nine tonnes of red frogs this year. Andy Gourley, founder and director of Red Frogs Australia, was a youth worker visiting one of his friends at Schoolies Week when he saw the overwhelming need for young people to be kept safe as they celebrated Schoolies Week.

Schoolies Week is a three-week celebration held for year 12 students at the completion of the school year. For the majority of students, it will be the first time they experience a holiday without family. The event has now been operating for over 19 years and takes place in 17 locations around Australia and three in South Africa. But it is on the Gold Coast, where I hail from, that it is of particular interest.

The Red Frog Crew, made up of hundreds of volunteers on the Gold Coast, aim to support tens of thousands of schoolies through their week-long celebration. I pay tribute to those tireless volunteers who will assist young people by walking them home, cooking pancakes, cleaning hotel rooms, handing out red frogs and offering emotional support to a bunch of schoolies who are hoping to have a good time in a safe environment. I support their work.