Daily Mercury cartoonist Harry Bruce's take on the Keswick Island drama. Today's Harry Bruce cartoon has been brought to you by Dawson MP George Christensen. George is a proud supporter of free speech and the ability of our cartoonists to take the mickey out of the political class. Picture: Harry Bruce
Daily Mercury cartoonist Harry Bruce's take on the Keswick Island drama. Today's Harry Bruce cartoon has been brought to you by Dawson MP George Christensen. George is a proud supporter of free speech and the ability of our cartoonists to take the mickey out of the political class. Picture: Harry Bruce

Open dialogue needs to continue to quell Keswick furore

INTERESTING to see China Bloom finally fire back this week.

They had Keswick Island residents firmly in their sights.

After sitting back silently after months of residents kicking up a storm, the barrage of sustained media attention - both on social media and in the mainstream media - over the past fortnight has led to the Chinese developer finally bringing down the wall.

And let fly they did.

Unpaid rent.

Unpaid lease fees.

Unsafe homes.

Illegal structures.

The list goes on.

Calling the residents anti-development, China Bloom also claimed residents had failed to comply with lease requirements they build homes within five years of buying their lots and they were "actively working to undermine the progress of any future development of the island".

Residents have been arguing all year that the developer has been breaching its lease agreement.

It's easy to understand why residents want to keep their little slice of paradise just the way it is.

But it sounds like the China Bloom is ready to fight fire with fire - though that phrase is probably inappropriate given fire prevention is actually among the issues it raises.

My fear, in all this furore, has been that the Chinese developer will ultimately cut off access to locals who have visited the island, particularly gorgeous Basil Bay, for years.

That the masterplanned resort for 3000 tourists would be restricted exclusively to the Chinese tourist market.

But China Bloom this week said the island had always been open and it was working with the State Government to increase visitation and access on the island for both tourists and residents.

 

A welcome sign on Keswick Island. Picture: Belinda McMahon/Stormybeachbelle
A welcome sign on Keswick Island. Picture: Belinda McMahon/Stormybeachbelle

This includes a draft masterplan for the island which comprises house constructions, a hotel facility, a new boat ramp, jetty and boat marina.

"General public can freely access any of the island's public beaches from Mackay or neighbouring islands," the company said in a statement.

"However, notification is required if they wish to enter the residential component of the island as per obligations set out in the headlease, and consistent with other islands in the region."

In my opinion, transparency should always be the best policy.

Not responding for months to residents' claims results in a one-sided debate.

And it has led to racist overtones that I hope can be quelled before they get out of control.

Let's hope this is the beginning of much more open dialogue so we can preserve this island into the future - for both residents and tourists.

Goodness knows we need to attract more tourists to our part of the world - we've relied on mining and sugar for a long time.

Tourism needs to become a viable industry for this city so we can become more than just a gateway to the Whitsundays.

Rae Wilson, Daily Mercury Editor

 

 

Locals are fighting with developer China Bloom about access issues at Keswick Island. Picture: JewelZee
Locals are fighting with developer China Bloom about access issues at Keswick Island. Picture: JewelZee

 

Keswick Island access issues

I am a returned serviceman. I should have the right to wander on the beaches of the island.

Is this going to be another thing to be taken away from me?

It seems to me China can do what it likes.

Rodney Jaques, East Mackay

 

 

Reef is our lifeblood

Response to CRITICAL DIAGNOSIS: Great Barrier Reef's health declines (DM 4/12/20).

As a small business owner, my family's livelihood, like thousands of others here in FNQ directly depend of our greatest asset, the Great Barrier Reef.

The reef is the lifeblood of our regional economy, we love it, it's a huge part of who we are and why we call FNQ home.

I'm frustrated and angry that the Federal Government is risking our livelihoods and way of life, by continuing to ignore the clear scientific fact that our reef is under critical threat from climate change.

The recent IUCN Report that downgraded the Reef's outlook to "critical", the lowest possible rating, for the first time is yet another dire warning for our country that the fate of the reef and our regional economy it supports is on the line.

When will our Federal Government wake up and start supporting Far North Queensland with a net-zero target and ambitious national climate policy? It's clear we are approaching the critical threshold for the reef, we must limit warming to 1.5C if we want to give our reef and region a fighting chance at a healthy future.

David Ian Springett, Kuranda

 

 

Northern parts of the Great Barrier Reef are still in excellent condition but there are bleaching concerns up and down the coast.
Northern parts of the Great Barrier Reef are still in excellent condition but there are bleaching concerns up and down the coast.

 

 

Great Barrier Reef dying claims

I do not believe for a minute that the reef is in danger from "climate change".

This is just a leftie hoax to obtain more funding for radical splinter groups.

Greg Dowse, Norville

 

Medicine v natural alternatives

Have you noticed? Whenever you go anywhere near a quack you get a battery of tests which use expensive medical equipment or give medical labs a week's work to get the results.

The one thing you don't get is cured. The end result is usually ongoing medical treatment to "manage" your condition.

I'm old enough to remember when they cured you or you died.

I have skin cancer and quacks wanted to cut the hell out of me.

That killed skin cancer sufferers a hundred years ago (my family is riddled with it).

Frank Brown, Richmond

 

Population and copulation

Australia is "suffering" from a big drop in migration?

OK then, since the 1960s it's said more and more Aussies are playing "man's (and woman's?) favourite indoor sport" (of going-at-it); let's have a far, far greater rate of homegrown, population; relative, to Australians' allegedly, ever growing rate of, copulation?

Howard Hutchins, Chirnside Park

 

Oil and gas laws

Your readers might be interested to know Australia has the weakest oil and gas laws in the world, and it is costing all of us billions of dollars in lost income.

Australia is the world's biggest exporter of natural gas, yet we as a nation earn very little income from those exports.

These destructive laws have been exploited by clever corporate lawyers who have locked up our reserves for the likes of Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, and ConocoPhillips.

Gas sourced from our own natural reserves is now sold more cheaply overseas than we can buy it here.

It's ironic that Australian gas provides China with 10% of its total energy needs while Australians themselves can't source enough of this valuable energy source.

In 2004, rebates for exploration work and claims on expenses were introduced by the Government, enabling the foreign mega-companies to stockpile $360 billion in tax credits (to date) for their operations.

The credits are able to be rolled over, year after year, meaning Australia will never be compensated for oil and gas taken from the north west shelf.

Your readers can imagine the benefits to every Australian if multinational oil and gas companies were forced to pay a fair level of tax on our resources that they extract and sell off overseas.

Better and cheaper availability of our natural gas would provide a reliable source of power for Australian industry, which would help our manufacturing and the economy.

I believe the "legal theft" of our oil and gas needs to stop. How can we turn the economy around more effectively if we give up these massive funds without a fight?

This week, I introduced a Private Senator's Bill to ensure future exploitation of oil and gas reserves is carried out for the benefit of the Australian community.

The bill will force multinationals who hoard gas leases to "use them or lose them" to companies that will proceed to extract the gas for the use of Australians.

My bill would also put an end to floating drilling and production platforms that are anchored to the seabed avoiding paying compensation through the domestic gas reserve policy in Western Australia.

While my bill won't change the failed tax laws (only the government can do that), it is a baby step in the right direction to start counteracting the massive and unacceptable losses suffered from the sale of our oil and gas.

Senator Pauline Hanson, One Nation Leader


Beach track incident: Woman uses metallic bottle to repel attack

Premium Content Beach track incident: Woman uses metallic bottle to repel...

A woman acted bravely by striking a man who grabbed her by the arm on a beach track...

‘Police ran like a couple of gazelles’ to apprehend man

Premium Content ‘Police ran like a couple of gazelles’ to apprehend man

Two general duties officers showed their fast footwork when they arrested a wanted...

Blue-green algae blooms to red alert at Tweed

Premium Content Blue-green algae blooms to red alert at Tweed

Council has issued a red alert for blue-green algae following its latest water test...