The Qld train station calling for airport-style security
THE Gold Coast's leading tourism boss has called for extreme measures to protect the city's reputation after a year of escalating violence on the streets of Surfers Paradise.
With the city's near $5 billion tourism industry at stake, Destination Gold Coast chairman Paul Donovan has unleashed a broadside demanding out-of-town thugs be barred from coming to the Glitter Strip entirely.
Mr Donovan called for airport-like security systems at Helensvale train station, a public transport gateway with both heavy and light rail stops.
"It is scary that these people are coming here by rail," he said. "We need to toughen up the controls - check everyone who is coming in that way, make them go through (scanning) devices at Helensvale like they have at the airport.
"Anyone known to be trouble should be banned from entering the Gold Coast.
"We are a tourism city and people come her to enjoy time with their families. We do not want idiots coming here and ruining everything. We cannot have horrific event like this happening."
Mr Donovan's comments come five days after the stabbing death of Parkwood teenager Jack Beasley. A 15-year-old has been charged with his murder.
A Bulletin report yesterday revealed police want to use metal-detecting wands in the party precinct to stop young knife-wielding thugs committing vicious assaults.
Mr Donovan also called for a summit of city leaders and police to determine a way of dealing with the issue before it damaged the Gold Coast's reputation.
"We cannot let this spoil things for the Coast. Any adverse publicity like this has a negative effect. All the good work Destination Gold Coast is doing to drive tourist numbers and boost employment could be undone by this.
"Our police do a great job but when they get to court these people get a slap on the wrist, so what we need is more severe deterrents rather than playing games."
Surfers Paradise MP John-Paul Langbroek wanted more policing of light rail and stronger penalties for offenders.
"I warned a number of years ago after advice from police that the light rail extension would result in more crime among the route," he said.
Surfers Paradise councillor and former mayor Gary Baildon said "a firm hand" was needed to solve youth crime.
"The state should allocate more resources to make sure we are effectively policed," he said.
"A firm hand is needed on this because they need to understand the Gold Coast is a welcoming story for visitors but misbehaviour will not be tolerated."