Empty re­sorts ‘a blight’ on re­gion

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

THE Min­is­ter for the Great Bar­rier Reef, Dr Steven Miles, says he’s con­cerned about dor­mant Whit­sun­day is­land re­sorts stalling tourism in the re­gion.

“In light of the fact it’s been a great tourist sea­son in the Whit­sun­days, there’s re­ally no ex­cuse for peo­ple to not be out there find­ing in­vest­ments so they can get them re­opened,” Dr Miles said.

“They’re a blight on our na­tional trea­sure and the Queens­land gov­ern­ment needs to work with the own­ers and de­vel­op­ers to see what we can do to get them start­ing up.”

Last year the Courier Mail re­ported there were six is­lands be­hind on their lease agree­ments in the Whit­sun­days, some of which were run­down or closed al­to­gether.

Min­is­ter for Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Mines, Dr An­thony Lyn­ham, said of the Whit­sun­day re­gion is­lands with tourism leases, five were “ei­ther op­er­at­ing or ac­tively re­de­vel­op­ing a re­sort”.

“At Lindeman, White Horse Aus­tralia is de­vel­op­ing an ex­ten­sive draft en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact state­ment for its $600 mil­lion pro­posed re­sort com­plex,” Dr Lyn­ham said.

(While) at Bramp­ton, the com­pany re-de­vel­op­ing the re­sort is cur­rently work­ing with lo­cal and state gov­ern­ment for na­tional park-re­lated ap­provals.”

Dr Lyn­ham said the gov­ern­ment was “con­tin­u­ing to work” with the cur­rent lessee of closed Hook Is­land.

“A num­ber of po­ten­tial pur- chasers have dis­cussed pos­si­ble re­de­vel­op­ment,” he said.

Min­is­ter for Tourism Kate Jones said she wanted to see is­land re­sorts re­ju­ve­nated.

“Our reef is­lands are al­ready ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a new wave of in­vestor in­ter­est in­clud­ing the re­de­vel­op­ment of Hay­man Is­land, planned ex­pan­sion of Hamil­ton Is­land Re­sort, re­fur­bish­ment of Day­dream and new up­scale eco-re­sorts planned for Lindeman and Bramp­ton Is­lands,” she said.

A DNRM spokesman said a buyer of South Molle Is­land would need to seek gov­ern­ment con­sent prior to com­ple­tion of the sale. “In de­cid­ing whether con­sent is granted, the depart­ment con­sid­ers the level of com­pli­ance with lease con­di­tions, whether rent is paid up to date and any other rel­e­vant mat­ters,” he said.

“The (new) lessee must also use the lease for the pur­pose for which it was granted.”

CON­CERNED: Dr Steven Miles, Min­is­ter for En­vi­ron­ment, Na­tional Parks and the Great Bar­rier Reef.

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