ORGANISERS of Quaama’s New Year’s Eve party have contacted the BDN to refute allegations made in Friday’s issue (18/1).
Zane Mcleod, who grew up in the area and still has family living around Quaama, said he helped organise the event and provided music and lighting.
He said allegations of a drug overdose and sexual assault made by Drew Pallant were unfounded.
“There are a few upset people in town - a lot of what Drew is saying is unsubstantiated,” Mr McLeod said.
“There were a few scuffles and probably some kids drinking yeah, but for a crowd of over 600 people everyone was pretty well behaved.”
That view was also supported by Jim Neil of Cobargo, who said he was working on the gate that night, collecting money and distributing wristbands.
“Those claims are such a pity – each event at Quaama has been hassle-free,” Mr Neil said.
“The New Year’s Eve party was a really good night – there was no real trouble at all and no damage to the grounds.
“The only ones causing trouble were the owners of that damaged car and I asked for them to be moved on.”
Mr Neil also said it was he who helped keep a young girl safe by letting her sleep in the back of his car, as well as assisted with a boy Mr Pallant alleged had overdosed.
Both Mr Neil and Mr Mcleod said they didn’t believe drugs were involved, contrary to Mr Pallant’s statement.
“I was the one who put him in the recovery position and then we waited for the ambulance,” Mr Neil said.
“He seemed to be more affected by alcohol – he didn’t OD, he was just very drunk.”
Last week Inspector Jason Edmunds confirmed police attended the Quaama party on a couple of occasions during the night, but he said they 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,” Inspector Edmunds said.
“As far as the police are concerned, I think they did a great job,” Mr Mcleod added.
“The event didn’t warrant them being there any more than they were – they’re professional enough to realise that.”
Mr Mcleod also put the question of an alleged lack of security back on Mr Pallant.
“We’d actually contracted Drew to provide the security,” Mr Mcleod said.
“His company does the larger scale stuff that was out of our scope – event management and event planning etc – and that’s why we hired him.
“He gave his name to police on the day as the responsible contact and he was posting publicity on Facebook in regards to security for the night.”
Mr Mcleod was concerned the negative publicity would tarnish future events for young people in the area.
“The whole idea behind this was to provide a fun event and safe environment,” he said.
“We want to be able to come back to entertain the kids.
“It was all good fun and gives them a taste of city festival life at a smaller local venue.
“We also try to put back what we can into the community.
“As for the takings, after everyone was paid for their services - the logistics, workers etc - the profit we donated back to the community.
“Five hundred dollars was donated to the Bermagui Men’s Shed and $500 donated to the Quaama Rodeo Ground Committee.
“The negative publicity could take away some of the only entertainment these kids have.”