Byron Schoolies organisers feel snubbed as funding withdrawn
BYRON Bay Schoolies co-ordinator Nicqui Yazdi said Byron Shire Council's decision to pull at least $9000 in funding has completely disrupted organisation less than eight months out from the event.
A bitterly disappointed Ms Yazdi said they might have to seek commercial sponsorship for what is the second most popular Schoolies destination in Australia attracting about 10,000 end-of-school revellers.
"To have all that assistance withdrawn without any consultation with us is very below-the-belt," she said.
"It's placed us back to square one.
"It just means for me I'm the one that's got to go out and try and come up with the money.
"I don't know what we're going to do."
Ms Yazdi said the Schoolies Safety Response working group had not even been informed the issue was to be discussed at the last council meeting so they could request public access or attend the meeting.
The council has resolved to use the money to boost the New Year's Eve festivities instead.
Mayor Simon Richardson, who has been a regular volunteer at Schoolies, said they were still contributing $21,000 to the event, which was more than some members of the community supported.
Cr Richardson said he favoured corporate sponsorship for Schoolies as it might be time for the event to run along more commercial lines, although he admitted there could be some complications as the Schoolies hub on Main Beach was situated on Crown land.
He also called for more local businesses that profited from Schoolies to contribute or boost their commitment.
He said after the fallout from last New Year's Eve, that had to be council's focus for the time being.