School leavers celebrations canned at Rottnest Island due to dwindling numbers

Posted

October 30, 2019 20:30:21

School leavers celebrations have been canned on Western Australia’s Rottnest Island this year, with thousands of graduates expected to flock to the state’s South West instead.

Key points:

  • Official school leavers celebrations won’t go ahead on Rottnest Island this year
  • The number of graduates celebrating on the island has declined significantly in recent years
  • More than 8,000 people are expected to flock to the state’s South West during leavers week in November

The small island near Perth, home to the social-media famous quokkas, has previously been an official destination for high school graduates to celebrate after exams.

But WA Police Community Commander Lawrie Panaia said that would change going forward.

“The organised events that you have at leavers like ‘the zone’ and the beach party, that won’t be happening at Rottnest this year,” he said.

WA Police Force leavers manager Clint Browning said it came after dwindling student numbers on the island in recent years.

“We’re talking a decline of somewhere around a thousand leavers down to quite a low number,” he said.

He said the move would not be a huge blow to businesses on Rottnest.

“They have got a lot of tourism, they have a lot of events that they hold over there during the summer months,” he said.

“I don’t think they will suffer significantly at all from the move away from school leavers.”

Dunsborough ready for influx of young people

Instead, WA police are expecting around 8,500 young people to flock to the parts of WA’s South West during leavers week in November — a small spike from previous years.

City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said the region was well equipped to handle the extra partygoers in places like Busselton and Dunsborough.

“I’m sure we’ll get a couple more down here,” he said.

“All our accommodation providers now generally look after leavers and they have a well established team who take care of the kids who come down.”

Margaret River-Busselton Tourism’s Jenny Lee said the extra numbers would be good news for tourism in both the short and long term.

“There is certainly the economic contribution that they make to the local community by staying down here in the different accommodation and also they’ll be dining at local venues,” Ms Lee said.

“[Then] we hope to welcome them back as they grow older and they’ll be bringing back their families in the years to come, hopefully.”

Extra police will be sent down to the area for the event.

Topics:

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