Keswick Island

Residents on tropical island accuse Chinese developer

PHOTO: Locals are divided over China Bloom’s future plans to develop Keswick Island (pictured, tourists on the island in the Whitsundays)

  • Locals are divided over China Bloom’s plans for Queensland’s Keswick Island
  • Developer snapped portion of island for $20million on a 99-year lease in 2019
  • Chinese owner is accused of restricting public access and shutting the air strip
  • But some locals defended China Bloom, saying island life has never been better

Trouble is brewing in paradise where locals are divided over a Chinese developer which has taken over their idyllic tropical island community.

China Bloom snapped up a portion of Keswick Island in Queensland’s Whitsundays region for $20million on a 99-year lease almost two years ago.

The remaining 80 per cent of the island 34km from the coastal town of Mackay is national park.

Island locals have accused the Beijing-backed developer of banning boats from accessing the public ramp, shutting down the air strip, and attempting to stop visitors from using the beach which it plans to redevelop.

Many plan to descend on the island on Tuesday for a peaceful Australia Day protest as part of their Reclaim Keswick Island campaign.

But other locals have jumped to the defence of China Bloom, claiming the life on the idyllic island has never been better and denied claims of access being restricted.