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Empty Resorts ‘a blight’ On Region

By Mark Beale

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 re-opened,” 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 run-down 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 purchasers 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.”

SOURCE: WHITSUNDAY TIMES

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