Closure was ‘illegal' act: Diamond
INDEPENDENT state parliament candidate Bruce Diamond has weighed into the Great Keppel Island development debate with a searing attack on resort owner Tower Holdings.
Mr Diamond, who has declared he will contest the seat of Rockhampton in the next Queensland election, is in the tourism trade himself, running pleasure trips on the Fitzroy River.
He says he's one of thousands who have been adversely affected by the “unnecessary and illegal closure” of the existing resort.
“I use the word illegal because Tower Holdings is in clear breach of its lease, which states they must continue to trade. The facilities on the island have been closed now for more than three years and it will be at least another three before we see anything of any substance built there.
“It's nothing less than a disgrace and an utter heartbreaking embarrassment to see how this once beautiful resort is now left to be overgrown. It's appalling and what's equally appalling is that Paul Hoolihan, Robert Schwarten and Anna Bligh have allowed the company to breach its lease.
“Where were our so-called tourism leaders, and what did they do to try to prevent it closing and the subsequent fire sale of plant and equipment? The did absolutely nothing.”
Mr Diamond said the company should have known before it acquired the resort that the running costs were high and the facilities were in need of refurbishment.
And he's calling on Tower to “show some good faith and reopen parts of the island so it can function as a holiday attraction with a beach bar, pool, some accommodation and water sports activities.”
He said: “Far too many businesses have been, and continue to be, adversely affected to the point of closure.
“I can assure you that if I am elected it will be a priority to ensure lease holders of government land are not allowed to get away with breaching those leases.
“I have nothing against a new resort, as long as it complies, but in the meantime, we want the old one back.”
Tower Holdings denied that it had breached its lease and said limited facilities remained open on the island. The company refused to comment further on Mr Diamond's attack.