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Queensland’s lost paradise islands put in spotlight

By Mark Beale

ISLANDS on the Great Barrier Reef, including Brampton, Lindeman and Hook, are among the best real estate in the world – a paradise right on our doorstep – so why are they going to waste?

This is something Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles would like to know.

Addressing hundreds of reef and tourism delegates yesterday at a World Environment Day forum, Mr Miles announcing his intention to create a framework that would reward good tourism operators for doing the right thing, but not those who were sitting on real estate “with little interest in upholding their obligations”.

Mr Miles expressed his disappointment some island tourism destinations, among the best real estate locations in the world, were lying empty, deserted and deteriorating.

“These places used to provide jobs, environmental education and unparalleled nature experiences,” he said.

“And now some reason nothing more than decomposing wrecks – an eyesore on the landscape.”

He admitted it was embarrassing that some of these were on state-owned land, including national parks.

“So to do nothing is unacceptable. We need to take action,” he said.

Mr Miles’ office confirmed deteriorating resorts on his list included Brampton Island, located off the coast of Mackay, and Hook and Lindeman islands in the Whitsundays.

Hinchinbrook Resort, located east of Cardwell, was also on his list.

Brampton Island was sold to United Petroleum in 2010 and closed the following year. It has never reopened.

Lindeman Island closed in 2012 and was purchased later that year by a Chinese company for $12 million.

The redevelopment of the Hook Island Wilderness Resort project, which started going through government application processes in 2007, is still on hold.

Mr Miles said the problem affected the whole reef ecosystem and international appeal.

“So we need to raise the stakes,” he said.

“While I appreciate there is real interest in rejuvenating some of these island resorts I am concerned that not enough is being done fast enough to revitalise these stranded tourism assets.”

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