Double Island lease back in state hands

Published Friday, 21 June, 2024 at 02:48 PM


Minister for Resources and Critical Minerals
The Honourable Scott Stewart

Minister for Tourism and Sport
The Honourable Michael Healy

  • Tourism lease on Double Island forfeited with former resort site now administered by state.
  • Former lessee had failed to meet the conditions of their lease since 2013.
  • Community engagement about island’s future will be held in the coming months.

Queensland has reclaimed Double Island in a legal victory that puts island resort operators on notice to comply with their leases or risk losing them as part of the state’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry. 

Tourism Minister Michael Healy and Barron River MP Craig Crawford lobbied on behalf of locals for the island leaseholder Hong Kong businessman Benny Wu to be stripped of his lease after the former luxury resort shut down more than six years ago.

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said after years of failed efforts to negotiate with the leaseholder to rebuild the decrepit five-star resort and re-open the island to visitors he took the case to the Land Court.

Mr Stewart said, as of today, the lease was back in state hands and the Double Island tourism lease that Mr Wu’s Fortune Island Holdings Company paid $5.68m for in 2013 has been revoked.

In May, the Land Court ruled that the Double Island lease could be forfeited and this week the time for Mr Wu’s legal team to file an appeal against the ruling expired on Wednesday.

It paves the way for the resort to be assessed before discussions are held over future allocation of the land.

Double Island had been held by the lessee since 2013 but had not operated for over six years.

The Department of Resources had been working closely with Fortune Island Holdings for several years to rectify issues where they had not been complying with conditions of their lease. 

Future allocation of the land will be a whole of government decision that reflects the best outcome for the region and all of Queensland.

Quotes attributable to Resources and Critical Minerals Minister Scott Stewart:

“The community and the local members want to see Double Island open, thriving, and available to use, as do I, which is why I took this action.

“I didn’t take this decision lightly and it follows a sustained attempt by the Department over time to work with the lessee.

“As a government we are committed to the responsible development of our island resorts for the jobs and business opportunities they create in regional Queensland.

“Our islands are natural assets that we want Queenslanders to be able to enjoy as part of our great lifestyle.

“Community and site safety is our number one priority, and the Department will now begin a more detailed assessment of the island’s infrastructure.

“During this time, people should stay away from the former resort while action is taken to assess and address any hazards.

“The resort hasn’t operated for many years and is in a state of disrepair and isn’t safe to the general public.

“We will be engaging with the community on Double Island’s future in the coming months.”

Quotes attributable to Tourism Minister and Member for Cairns Michael Healy:

“We want to see Double Island restored to its former glory and accessible to locals and visitors.

“Queensland’s island resorts are the jewels in the crown of our state’s tourism industry.

“We think it is only fair to expect resort operators to comply with their lease.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Barron River Craig Crawford:

“This is bloody brilliant. 

“It is now back in the hands of Queenslanders. This is the day we’ve all been waiting for after six long years.

“Many in the community did not think this day would come, but I knew if we stuck to our guns we would win.

“But don’t go to the island yet. Give us a chance to assess the risk, we need time to make it safe.”