Class action over land swap

OPPOSITION to the Airlie main street land swap is gathering momentum, with Save Our Foreshore (SOF) and the Whitsunday Ratepayers Association (WRA) announcing they will join forces in a "class action" to save the public's land.

WRA secretary Tony Moscato said everybody wanted an upgrade but a land swap was wrong.

"Both organisations have a strong feeling that the members want to stop this land swap.

We think that no-one is listening to the people so we are now taking legal opinions and we will jointly be putting an injunction on council," he said.

"We are going to pick a very high profile lawyer to take a class action on behalf of at least 1,000 people."

SOF President Suzette Pelt confirmed this course of action.

"The same reasons that the Beattie government refused the previous hotel proposal on this site apply today," she said.

People who marched seven years ago to save this site are just as outraged today as they were then and are prepared to do it again," she said.

Mayor Mike Brunker said the consequences of legal action might mean, "Airlie only gets half a main street".

"They've got the right to do that but it might hold up the project," Cr Brunker said.

"The main reason for this is to provide Airlie with a better economic future so if they're against this (the land swap) they're against that," he said.

"Maybe they'd like to see Airlie a 'ghost town' (but) these are the same people who complain that because people are leaving town they have to pay more rates to provide the services. You can't win."

Whitsunday MP Jan Jarratt maintained that the "process that the council and the minister have embarked upon is proceeding according to the law."

"If Save Our Foreshore or the Whitsunday Ratepayers Association want to spend other people's money fighting this in the courts, then that is a matter for them," she said. 

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