Court temporarily halts North Stradbroke Island whale project after protest

NORTH STRADBROKE ISLAND: A controversial push to construct a whale skeleton at North Stradbroke Island’s most picturesque tourist spot has been halted with the Commonwealth handing a temporary victory for protesters. Island body corporate, the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, has pledged construction of its Whale on the Hill project at Point Lookout won’t start while the Commonwealth is considering an application for long-term protection of the area. Protesters who have occupied the Point Lookout construction site since January 2021 say QYAC’s pledge to halt construction is a welcome, but temporary victory. Goenpul woman and project opponent Pekeri Ruska said the “immediate threat” of development starting had been removed, but acknowledged construction could eventually begin. “We want to be optimistic with how it could all play out but it’s just the waiting game now,” she said. “At least in the Minister coming back to us means she’s going to pay some good consideration to our application.” Ms Ruska said protesters had agreed to mediation, which if QYAC agrees could begin as early as next month. Traditional owners had previously applied to the Commonwealth seeking an injunction to prevent QYAC starting work on the site while a separate application for its protection was being considered. The Whale on the Hill project, which includes the display of a 15m whale skeleton on the headland, is a key flashpoint between QYAC and traditional owners and residents - who say the body corporate group is failing to represent the community. QYAC CEO Damian Miley said the organisation was considering the request for mediation but was unaware the Minister was still considering a protection application. “QYAC has engaged Everick Consulting who have completed two surveys of the relevant area, which have addressed the tangible and intangible cultural heritage,” he said. “QYAC has also prepared a Cultural Heritage Management Plan to appropriately manage the project.” Separately, a community survey launched following The Courier-Mail’s reporting of problems in the island’s economic transition from sand mining to tourism has also been completed, but the state government is unable to say when it will be publicly released. A government spokesman said the survey, which sought responses from island business owners, residents and community leaders, would be used to review the government’s investment on Straddie.

Frasers Property Australia has appointed Cvet Trpeski to the role of general counsel, a promotion that chief executive Anthony Boyd said was “a great outcome for the business given Cvet’s significant experience and wisdom.”

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