D-day arrives for island handover

RESIDENTS on Moreton Island - the third-largest sand island in the world - are on tenterhooks today ahead of the finalisation of a native title agreement tourism operators fear could cruel their business and limit access to popular sites.

As the Federal Court in Brisbane hears a consent determination today, Member for Petrie Luke Howarth has slammed the State Government for a lack of consultation, including speculation 120ha of land will be returned to traditional owners.

It means the traditional owners could become the landlords of the privately owned Tangalooma Resort.

Mr Howarth said locals were worried popular sites on the island such as Blue Lagoon, Cape Moreton Lighthouse, the dunes, boulders and champagne pools could become be off-limits to visitors

He said locals, many unwilling to go on the record, were worried about job losses and were critical of the lack of information presented to them.

Member for Redcliffe Yvette D'Ath in 2017 pledged $4 million building a landing site at Scarborough to connect with the island.

Mr Howarth asked: "What's the point of this promise if all along the State Government's plan was to reduce tourism and restrict access on the island?"


Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island
Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island


Ms D'Ath told The Courier-Mail: "As the local member I'm working with the community and traditional owners on this issue, however there are still ongoing native title matters before the courts that need to be determined."

A Department of Environment and Science spokesperson said yesterday visitor access to Moreton Island would not be affected by the native title determination, but said any changes would be made with the community.

"The Queensland Government and the Quandamooka People are working together to develop a joint management strategy to protect and manage Mulgumpin's iconic values," the spokesperson said.

"Any changes to visitor management arrangements on the island would go through public consultation processes consistent with the requirements in managing Queensland's national parks.

"The interests of the Quandamooka people, as the island's traditional owners, is an integral part of these management decisions."

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