Balancing the Act: ADCQ newsletter -

A fair go for Schoolies

This article first appeared in Balancing the Act Issue 29, Summer 2010 page 8.

School's out and for a lot of year 12 students that means it's time to enjoy some short-lived freedomSchoolies before the reality of tertiary study, employment or other life challenges kick in. What better way to wind down from 12 hard years of schooling than to hit the Coast for Schoolies Week? But for some students, this celebration won't eventuate because their attempts to secure accommodation for the week have been met with refusals, excuses and blatant discrimination.

Some service providers continue to use the negative stereotypes of young people as a basis for age discrimination. Acting Commissioner Neroli Holmes has reminded accommodation, tourism and service providers that 'young people have as much right as anyone else to rent holiday accommodation.'

DeckchairSome examples of age related discrimination during Schoolies Week include:

  • Accommodation providers refusing to rent a property to people because of their age;
  • Increasing bonds or accommodation rates for Schoolies;
  • Imposing rules or restrictions on accommodation and/or services that only apply to Schoolies;
  • Stores or venues refusing entry to young people, except in the instance of under age patrons at licensed premises.

Property owners can choose not to rent their property at certain times of the year or to limit the number of tenants they have in their premises; however they cannot refuse to rent to particular groups based on stereotypes or assumptions about how they will conduct themselves. Accommodation providers have businesses to run and they should certainly exercise their right to address any behaviour that may put their business or other residents at risk. But these practices should represent equality for all, and not disadvantage young people.