Basil Bay, Keswick Island. Picture: JewelZee
Basil Bay, Keswick Island. Picture: JewelZee

Marine park authority wades into Keswick Island concerns

A natural resource regulator says it is working with the State Government to address reports of environmental damage on Keswick Island.

It comes after Dawson MP George Christensen spoke on the matter in parliament, saying he had arranged a meeting between Keswick Island Progress Association members and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority last Friday.

The reports of environmental damage raised include claims a turtle nest was destroyed because of beach grading, land clearing to make way for a new boat and trailer parking area and coral “smothered in sediment”.

Mr Christensen said authority staff had agreed to reach out to the State Government to ask for the reports to be investigated and that it would look into the reports as well.

Keswick Island resident and turtle advocate Rayna Asbury took this photograph of turtle tracks at Basil Bay on December 26, 2020. Picture: Contributed
Keswick Island resident and turtle advocate Rayna Asbury took this photograph of turtle tracks at Basil Bay on December 26, 2020. Picture: Contributed

The Dawson MP again called for the State Government to terminate China Bloom’s head lease on Keswick Island.

“GBRMPA told us that the right authority to police (Keswick Island) was the State Government,” Mr Christensen said.

“However, GBRMPA were concerned enough about the reports and the material they saw that they’re going to write to the State Government asking for the matter to be investigated and they also said they would have their investigation team look over it in case there were any breaches.”

The Daily Mercury put these comments to the authority, with a spokeswoman confirming it had recently met with concerned residents from Keswick Island.

“We are in contact with the lease holder, through our permitting process, to understand all their facilities located within the marine park,” A GBRMPA spokeswoman said.

“Where marine park issues cover both Commonwealth and Queensland jurisdictions we work jointly with the

Queensland Government.

“We are doing so in this instance.”

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China Bloom has previously said, as the latest head lessor, it was working through “inherited issues” on Keswick Island.

“China Bloom is working productively with the council on ensuring all inherit works are compliant,” it said.

Footage of what resident James Asbury describes as damaged coral near a Keswick Island boat ramp. Picture: James Asbury
Footage of what resident James Asbury describes as damaged coral near a Keswick Island boat ramp. Picture: James Asbury

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