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Great Ocean Road braces for expected influx of schoolies

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The Surf Coast is bracing for a mass influx of schoolies this year, with COVID-19 restrictions expected to keep school leavers away from popular destinations such as Surfers Paradise, Byron Bay and Bali.

Member for Polwarth, which covers the Surf Coast, Richard Riordan, says 3000 school leavers usually holiday in the area, and he’s expecting that number to balloon.

“Schoolies on the Surf Coast is about 3000. We know there’s that and ten times more that goes to Queensland, Byron Bay, Bali, all these other places,” he told Ross and Russel.

Mr Riordan said he expects businesses will welcome school leavers, but residents won’t be happy.

“If you’ve been a business operator anywhere along the coast you’ve missed out on Easter, you’ve missed out on school holidays, the kitchen cupboard is getting pretty lean,” he said.

“But we’ve got people that live down there who naturally have concerns about a whole bunch of people coming down there.”

But Mr Riordan said there’s little residents will be able to do to keep schoolies away.

“The reality is there’s a whole bunch of private homes, the bulk of accommodation along the Great Ocean Road is in flats and apartments … so short of the government putting a rule up that says you can’t go to your house, you can’t stop people coming,” he said.

“They’re going to be hard to stop … and let’s face it, these kids have been locked up at home for the past six months.

“Let’s work with them rather than against them.”

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