Pollies join Keswick crusade against Chinese developer
BOTH the Whitsunday MP and the One Nation party have joined the crusade against China Bloom's control of Keswick Island.
The Chinese developer took over a 99-year lease to a section of the island in April last year.
The Daily Mercury has reported how the developer tried to restrict access to Basil Bay in March and then restricted access to residents on the island 26km off Mackay's coast in July.
Now Amanda Camm has written a two-page open letter to the Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister claiming residents have had no choice but to turn to the media for help.
"I write to advise you of an urgent issue that has been ongoing for some time and given your recent appointment; ensure you are informed of the serious issues," Ms Camm's letter stated.
In her letter, the former deputy mayor of Mackay Regional Council also included Keswick Island Progress Association members' opinions critical of the Mackay Regional Council.
"Since November 2019, KIPA has had five meetings with MRC officers … they have raised serious allegations of breaches of the head lease conditions.
Ms Camm said she was now seeking the minister's advice in getting coordination between departments so the "unique" island could reach "its full potential".
There's a chance we could lose Keswick Island forever
Also reaching out to the public over the embattled island was One Nation's leader Pauline Hanson in spruiking her party's "Free Keswick Island" petition.
"What we are seeing on Keswick Island is an affront to our nation's sovereignty and presents a clear risk to our national security," Ms Hanson tweeted.
The petition is asking the Senate to step in to restore "rightful access" to the public areas of the island and "ensure that incidents like this one … will never happen again".
The online petition has so far been signed by 8275 people.
China Bloom has not responded to the Daily Mercury's requests for comment.
The Mercury has contacted the council for a response to Ms Camm's letter.
Natural Resources Minister Scott Stewart said on Friday the Palaszczuk Government was committed to "making sure all relevant activities on Keswick Island are in accordance with the lease conditions".
"The majority of the issues raised by a small number of sublessees do not fall under the terms of the lease and are a commercial matter between them and the head lessee as per the Land Act 1994," Mr Stewart said.
"Both parties have legal rights to undertake mediation or arbitration under the Land Act 1994 but, to date, this has not been exercised.
"My department met with representatives from China Bloom last Friday and have been in frequent discussions since.
"My department will continue to work with both the head lessee and sublessees to ensure all relevant activities are in accordance with lease terms."