Article by Greg Roberts for The Australian
QUEENSLAND is set to fall in line with the rest of the country by designating its first beach for nudists.
The Bligh Government has joined newly elected Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbot in signalling it would not oppose a clothing-optional beach on the tourist strip north of Brisbane.
Mr Abbot received a submission from the Free Beaches Association yesterday calling for one of three proposed beaches to be made clothing-optional.
The move followed the dismissal of a wilful exposure charge last week against Sunshine Coast artist and nudist Ken Wenzel.
All the states and territories except Queensland have designated clothing-optional beaches since South Australia declared the first, Maslin Beach near Adelaide, in 1975.
Sunshine Coast police have long turned a blind eye to nudism at , where thousands of nudists from around the country attend the annual Nude Olympics.
However, Free Beaches Association secretary Anita Grigg said police had vigorously pursued nudists at other beaches, even when sunbathers were discreet and the beaches isolated.
In dismissing the charge against Mr Wenzel, who was arrested on a beach at Coolum, south of Noosa, Maroochydore magistrate Barry Barrett accused the police of "victimisation and double standards".
Ms Grigg said the three beaches proposed to Mr Abbot were at Coolum, Mudjimba and Marcus Downs. Alexandria Bay was not proposed as it was in a national park under state control.
"All we have ever wanted is to be able to enjoy a day on the beach without having to look over our shoulders all the time," Ms Grigg said.
She said the three beaches were discreetly positioned and bathers would not be visible from roads or nearby homes.
Mr Abbot, a former Noosa mayor who was elected to head the newly amalgamated Sunshine Coast Regional Council in the March poll, said he would consider the nudists' submission and would not stand in the way of a clothing-optional beach.
"I don't have any issues with it either way," Mr Abbot said.
Police Minister Judy Spence said a clothing-optional beach would require amending the wilful exposure provisions of the Summary Offences Act.
Ms Spence said she would consider doing so if the Sunshine Coast council wanted to designate a beach.
"If the council came to me to request it, then we're prepared to look at it."
Ms Bligh said she would be happy to discuss the idea with Mr Abbot.
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