Last resort as island owners face ultimatum

 

DERELICT island resorts are eyesores that should be rejuvenated or demolished under a push to "use it or lose it".

The Federal Government and operators of island resorts on the Great Barrier Reef also warn of "land-banking" and suggest a penalty for buyers who do not invest in the short-term to re-open a resort.

The Northern Horizons - Unleashing our Tourism Potential report, handed down by the Federal Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia last year, recommended that permits not being regularly used be reallocated.

"Whether it is foreign or Australian investment, the owners of these assets cannot be allowed to let them go to wrack and ruin,'' Bedarra Island Resort owner Sam Charlton told The Courier-Mail.

"If I can get a cyclone-devastated island up and running, anyone can.

"The purpose of the lease is tourism.

 

"If they're not doing tourism, move out of way and let someone else do it.

"Use it or lose it."

Figures show 16 of the 30 resort sites where lease holdings exist between Fraser Island and Cape York remain closed.

 

Under the Queensland Government's $55 million GBR Resorts Rejuvenation Fund, 11 resorts are matching funding to remove damaged buildings, rebuild jetties and install greener technologies to improve water, energy and waste management.

Hayman, Wilson, South Molle, Hamilton, Hook, Orpheus, Pelorus, Bedarra, Green, Great Keppel and Lady Elliot islands are in the program.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said in the 1980s and 1990s, the Reef islands were a haven for tourists from around the world.

"Partnering with the private sector to return these island resorts to their former glory is a big part of our strategy to lure more visitors to Queensland," she said.

"We're cleaning up some of the dilapidated old buildings and constructing new attractions."



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