Port Hinchinbrook resort protest
By Darran Gould
PORT HINCHINBROOK — On December 14, the first stage of the Port Hinchinbrook resort was opened by Premier Rob Borbidge and developer Keith Williams. Police and private guards were deployed to prevent the 300 or so people demonstrating against the development from disrupting the proceedings.
The development's highly sensitive position on the north Queensland coast between Townsville and Cairns has provoked anger.
Serious damage has been done to the channel between Hinchinbrook Island and the coast by dredging and the removal of mangroves. Delicate aquatic wildlife, especially dugongs, and plants are endangered.
Protesters met near the town of Cardwell, and proceeded to a car park near where the opening ceremony of a public boat ramp was taking place.
A wide range of people proudly marched carrying banners and placards. Chants of "Hey, hey; ho, ho, Williams has got to go", and "Hands off Hinchinbrook" were shouted with enthusiasm.
The march was organised by the Friends of Hinchinbrook.
Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett and Queensland Greens convener Drew Hutton were threatened with arrest as they tried to enter the ceremony via a gate.
The protesters heard speakers declare that the struggle against the development and to protect Hinchinbrook would continue. The protest was very peaceful.
The opening was attended by more than 500 people. Borbidge slammed the demonstrators, calling them dishonest, and vowed the Coalition government would work closely with Williams on his resort.