Police warn Cooloola schoolies: ‘Don’t become a tragedy’
SCHOOL leavers meeting on the Cooloola Coast can expect a much large police presence over the next week.
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Queensland Police yesterday issued a statement confirming they would be conducting land and water patrols from Inskip Point to Rainbow Beach to Teewah Beach throughout Schoolies in a bid to “(ensure) all school leavers remain safe whilst enjoying their end of year celebrations”.
Inspector Pat Swindells from the Gympie Patrol Group said driving behaviour of young people on the beaches would be a top priority throughout the operations.
“We’ve had a number of recent tragedies where four-wheel-drive vehicles have been travelling at excessive speeds, resulting in the loss of lives,” Insp Swindells said.
“The last thing we want to have to do is tell any parent that their child will not be returning home from their holiday.
“Police are asking young people look out for their mates, and not let them get behind the wheel after drinking, as we will be out enforcing safe driving practices.”
Police will be working with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers to run compliance checks, and are reminding visitors that they will need to display required permits.
QPWS Manager of Compliance Mike Devrey said rangers would also be educating school leavers about responsible behaviour in National Parks.
“Most visitors to our national parks and recreation areas do the right thing, but rangers can issue fines for not having the necessary permits and for environmental and socially inappropriate behaviour,” Mr Devrey said.
“It is an offence in recreation areas to remove branches from trees or collect fallen branches for firewood in Queensland national parks, and people can be issued with a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN).
“As it is bushfire season, it is absolutely essential to make sure campfires are kept under control and are never abandoned.
“People should always use water and not sand to extinguish a campfire, as the coals can smoulder beneath the sand.”
Police will also be targeting underage drinking and drug offences.
“I acknowledge it’s been a tough year for students, and while we want them to have a good time during end of school year celebrations we cannot tolerate anti-social behaviour,” Insp Swindells said.
“Police will be educating young people in terms of any large, unplanned gatherings which are not registered or do not comply with the Chief Health Officer’s COVID-19 directions.
“We hope all school leavers have an enjoyable visit and remain respectful to other campers as well as the local environment.”