House debates

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Statements by Members

Keswick Island

1:49 pm

Photo of George ChristensenGeorge Christensen (Dawson, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

In December I visited residents on Keswick Island to see firsthand what they have been suffering under their new Chinese landlords. From the moment I set foot on the boat ramp, I was being watched by a security guard who was employed by that Chinese company—that's the head lessee—to record the movements of visitors and residents and check them against a register. Can you imagine this kind of Big Brother style surveillance occurring anywhere else in this country? I've since heard further reports about the conduct of the Chinese company that's the head lessee. Keswick Island is now peppered with Keep Out signs, large boulders blocking vehicle access, locked gates and chained-off areas. A boat ramp which was deemed not fit for purpose is the only access point for residents and tourists since the main boat ramp was closed. The residents and homeowners of Keswick Island have had a gutful. These people bought and built their houses in Australia.

The Palaszczuk government has allowed access to the island and to places on the island to be restricted by a foreign company. The Palaszczuk government has failed to protect the interests of Queenslanders from a foreign company on Queensland publicly-owned land. The Palaszczuk Labor government now has two options: pull the lessee into line or, preferably, tear up the lease altogether. Anything less would be an affront to the rights of Queenslanders. Anything less would be putting the interests of a Chinese company ahead of the interests of everyday Aussies. Labor's MP in Mackay, Julieanne Gilbert, says that all this is nonsense. She's going to find out what nonsense is.