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Hong Kong tycoon set to lose his Queensland island as government pulls pin

A Hong Kong-based billionaire is closer to losing the lease for a resort island in Queensland’s far north after the state government took action in the Land Court.

May 16, 2023, updated May 16, 2023
Hong Kong tycoon Billy Wu faces loss of his lease to Double Island near Cairns. (file image)

Hong Kong tycoon Billy Wu faces loss of his lease to Double Island near Cairns. (file image)

Benny Wu bought the lease to Double Island off Cairns in 2012 and there have been long-running concerns about the resort’s facilities falling into disrepair, in breach of lease conditions.

The government last year gave Mr Wu’s holding company until March 31 to bring Double Island’s tourism facilities up to scratch and open to the public.

Now the deadline has expired, the government told Mr Wu’s Fortune Island Holding Company on May 8 that it will ask the court to determine whether its lease on the 18ha island should be forfeited.

“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,” Resources Minister Scott Stewart said on Monday.

“However, lessees on government property are required to meet the conditions on their leases.

“Where lessees don’t meet their obligations, we will not hesitate to take action to protect these islands and the interests of all Queenslanders.”

Mr Wu reportedly paid $5.68m for the lease, which is set to expire in 2099.

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Assistant Tourism Minister and Member for Cairns Michael Healy said Double Island had been neglected for a number of years, which was not acceptable.

“That’s why I applaud the action being taken because we want to see this wonderful asset used and open to the community,” he said.

Opposition spokesman Pat Weir called for an inquiry into the Palaszczuk government’s management of Queensland islands and the said the decision should not have taken this long.

Comment is being sought from Mr Wu.

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