A Chinese real estate company that leased an Australian island for 99-years is blocking local residents of the island from living there.
Residents of the Keswick island say they cannot go back to their homes since developer China Bloom took control of the island in 2019.
Former island resident Julie Willis said that they just do not think the company wants Australians on the island. She said that she thinks the Chinese want to have this island solely focused on Chinese tourists.
The Chinese developer has even banned residents from renting their homes on vacation rental marketplaces like Airbnb, which, according to the residents, has ruined tourism, and blocked them from entering the island from air, land and sea.
Former resident Rayna Asbury said there have been no tourists since September last year on Keswick Island, which is owned by the Queensland Government. The island has been declared a national park.
The Queensland Department of Resources said they hoped that any issue between the island’s residents and the Chinese company be resolved amicably.
In their statement, the department said that its responsibility is to work with both the head lessee China Bloom and sublessees to ensure all relevant activities are in accordance with the terms of the lease as the real estate company works to develop the island’s roads, boat ramps, jetties and marine infrastructure.
Tensions between China and Australia have been growing in recent times.