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Richard Riordan MP: Schoolies to lead Great Ocean Road Tourism Recovery

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

September 2, 2020 12:00am

Natalee Kerr, Geelong Advertiser

The Surf Coast could become a bigger schoolies hotspot this year with limited interstate and international travel due to COVID-19, if they’re allowed in and can party safely.

Natalee Kerr, Geelong Advertiser Qld Premier cancels state’s Schoolies 2020 Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has officially cancelled Gold Coast Schoolies this year. The Surf Coast could become a bigger schoolies hot spot this year with limited interstate and international travel due to COVID-19, says a local

MP.Liberal MP Richard Riordan said he expected schoolies week to provide the first “very large wave” of visitors to the Great Ocean Road as domestic travel restrictions look to ease.

But with social distancing rules still likely to limit eateries, hotels and visitor sites from reopening to full capacity, Mr Riordan said local councils needed to be on the “front foot” and work with traders to cater for the potential thousands of school leavers.

“Councils should be looking to install temporary measures such as marquees, and socially-distanced chairs and tables along our coastal foreshores,” Mr Riordan said.

“We need these things in place for schoolies – they aren’t going to Queensland, New South Wales or Bali, there is going to be a truckload of kids turning up in our region. “But it’s not a bad thing if it’s done safely and properly.”

Last year, more than 3000 teenagers attended schoolies week across the Surf Coast. Luca Simon, Indy Lustig and Thomas McGill at Lorne for Schoolies.

The Queensland government announced last week that it would be cancelling all official schoolies events in the state, including beach parties and concerts, due to COVID-19.

Locally, accommodation bookings remain open in Torquay and Lorne during November and December, with stays ranging from $509 to $1169 a week per person on booking site “All students deserve the opportunity to celebrate the end of their school years,” the website states.

“As long as there are no travel restrictions in place for your destination or place of origin, you will be permitted to travel on your schoolies holiday to celebrate graduation with your friends.”

The state government is set to announce a “regional road map” this weekend to provide tailored guidance to how tourism operators and businesses across regional Victoria will begin to reopen. The plan is set to ease restrictions at a “safe pace” based on localised health advice. Surf Coast Shire Council’s general manager of culture and community, Chris Pike, said the council was waiting to hear about the changes to restrictions.

“This is clearly not a normal year and schoolies will be impacted,” Mr Pike said. “We work with many other organisations, such as Victoria Police, venue operators, accommodation providers, volunteer and youth organi­sations to support young people to celebrate safely and respectfully.

“All groups are working with the state government to understand what celebrations, if any, are possible this year.”

Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism chair Wayne Kayler-Thomson said there would be visitors eager to travel to the region when safe to do so.

“We can expect there will be people coming to the region, and there is no doubt there will be schoolies wanting to come to the region if restrictions allow it,” he said. #RichardRiordanMP, #LovePolwarth, #HeraldSun, #VoiceOfTheBush, #LetsGetBackToWork, #ShareTheVision, #Covid19, #CoronaVirus#Colac, #MaskUp, #InThisTogether, #NoTimeForPolitics, #VicNews, #VicPol,, #SchooliesWeek, #Schoolies2020, #GreatOceanRoad, #Lorne, #AireysInlet, #Anglesea, #MoggsCreek, #ApolloBay, #WyeRiver, #SchoolsOutForSummer, #MPSaysParty

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