ALLEGATIONS of sexual assault, a drug overdose and underage binge drinking have come to light in the wake of a New Year’s Eve party held at Quaama.
Drew Pallant runs a Queensland-based entertainment company that was asked to provide a DJ and foam cannon for the party held at the Quaama Sports Ground, where more than 600 people reportedly attended.
He said his company had been involved in events right across the country, but had never before seen anything like the “teenage, underage free-for-all” that took place that night.
He contacted the BDN last week, concerned that parents were unaware of what their children were up to.
“I thought it was all going to be above board,” Mr Pallant said.
“I was told there were permits involved, that there was going to be licenced security and first aid on site.
“I knew there would be minors there, but I was told under 16s would be there only under supervision.
“The police came that morning and the organisers also assured them there would be security,” he said.
“Up until the gates opened I was under the impression it was all above board.”
What happened next was “hectic from the word go” Mr Pallant said.
“There was no glass allowed in the foam pit, but the kids wouldn’t listen.
“I actually started working as an RSA [responsible service of alcohol] official and confiscated about 40 litres of alcohol, all from minors.”
Mr Pallant said the adults there were all well behaved, but the minors in the crowd were out of control.
Mr Pallant alleged a 15-year-old overdosed, “I believe on liquid fantasy”.
“He showed no signs of life, with very shallow breathing.
“I performed first aid until the ambos got there – it took them close to an hour.”
Mr Pallant said police also attended because of the 000 call, but never returned for the remainder of the night.
“Surely that should have rung alarm bells in their heads,” he said.
“It’s not up to the police to provide security, but some sort of police presence could have prevented a lot of what went on.
“After that I put on a fluoro vest to patrol.
“I later saw a 17-year-old girl from Canberra under the arms of two guys, with her breasts hanging out.
“She was pretty out of it and said she didn’t know the guys.
“I told them ‘I can’t let her leave with you’. One of my staff members put her in the back of a car to sleep.”
Mr Pallant said he refused to take payment for his company’s services on the night.
“I wanted nothing more to do with it – it tarnishes my name.
“They were making a profit out of children getting hurt and allowing kids to binge drink.
“Children were being dropped off by their parents, who obviously didn’t realise what it was going to be like.
“I have a 12-year-old daughter and I’d be ropeable if I found out she went to an event like this.
“Parents need to know about this for future events and to know what their kids are doing.
“This should never happen again.”
Inspector Jason Edmunds of Bega Police said New Year’s Eve celebrations around the shire “generally went off pretty well”.
While confirming police did attend the Quaama party on a couple of occasions during the night, he said police weren’t called out with any regularity and very little was reported to them.
“There were no reported large-scale public order incidents and no other reports of anything significant.”
However, Inspector Edmunds said he had “no doubt” there was underage drinking at the party.
“It is a role for us to police underage drinking where possible, but that responsibility starts at home,” he said.
“It’s not practical for us to be at every party on private property on New Year’s Eve.”
He said he believed the grounds used by party organisers is governed by a trust and therefore approval had not been sought through official channels such as police or the council.
On a more positive note, Inspector Edmunds said highway patrol officers had spoken with young people on the night who had plans to avoid being under the influence the next day.
“Based on previous experience, young people in the area were taking active steps to prevent that from happening, which is really pleasing.”