Keswick Island. Picture: Belinda McMahon/Stormybeachbelle
Keswick Island. Picture: Belinda McMahon/Stormybeachbelle

Keswick Island residents meet over ongoing tensions

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert has facilitated a meeting being held with Keswick Island sublessees today as tensions continue to simmer over access issues.

The Daily Mercury understands the private meeting will be held in Mackay between sublessees and a local representative from the Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy.

A spokeswoman for Mrs Gilbert confirmed the meeting would go ahead and was for sublessees only.

She said Mrs Gilbert had facilitated the meeting.

It is understood the talks are part of ongoing discussions about access issues for residents on the island.

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert. Picture: Zizi Averill
Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert. Picture: Zizi Averill

Tensions have erupted between residents and the island's headlease owner China Bloom in recent weeks over claims the Chinese developer has restricted them from accessing their homes.

The battle over the island paradise has made world headlines.

In a statement last week, Mrs Gilbert said she was "very happy to facilitate a meeting between residents, the Mackay Regional Council, the Minister and the head lessee to get to the bottom of this".

"Keswick isn't in my electorate but I know many in Mackay would like to see this issue resolved ASAP," she said.

Keswick Island falls under the state electorate of Whitsunday.

Whitsunday MP Amanda Camm said she wasn't told about the meeting.

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


Concerns over activities on the island have also been a hot topic during Queensland budget estimates.

On Friday, Opposition natural resources spokesman Pat Weir questioned DNRME Director-General James Purtill about how many complaints the department had received in relation to China Bloom and Keswick Island.

Mr Purtill did not answer the question directly, but said officers from the Department of Resources had visited the site recently and other visits took place in March.

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