State breaks promise as developer given beachfront park
THE State Government secretly agreed to give freehold title to one of Caloundra's most valuable pieces of waterfront land eight years after it promised it wouldn't.
But it blames a decision by the former Newman Government for the land passing from the state's ownership to private hands.
In 2016, the State Government agreed to give freehold title to a 3.8ha site at the bottom of Caloundra CBD bordered by Bulcock St, Pumicestone Passage and Park Rd.
The Government won't reveal how much was paid for the freehold title saying such dealings with lessees under the Land Act 1994 were private and confidential. There was no response to questions about whether or how the change of title had been communicated to the public.
The spokesperson said any monies received for the sale would have been placed into the State Government's consolidated revenue.
In 2008 then Premier Anna Bligh and Natural Resources and Water Minister Craig Wallace came to Caloundra to make the commitment that a new 30-year lease granted SEQ Caloundra Properties Pty Ltd over the Tripcony Hibiscus Caravan Park would ensure it remained as a low-cost holiday option for Queensland families.
The April 27, 2008, announcement was made amid broad concerns from the park's 85 long-term permanent tenants that they would be forced out as SEQ Caloundra Properties Pty Ltd looked to renovate and upgrade the park.
"We will offer the current lessee of the site a new 30-year lease for caravan park purposes so that Tripcony Hibiscus Caravan Park will be here to stay for many years to come," Mr Wallace said at the time.
"The current lease expires in November, 2009. The new lease will specifically state the site cannot be converted to private freehold and that a minimum of 50 per cent of the caravan park must be used for tourist accommodation."
He said the welfare of the park's 85 permanent residents was also paramount in the decision to keep the park which has been used for camping purposes since the 19th century.
A Palaszczuk Government spokesperson said a new lease issued in February 2009 included a condition that the lease could not be converted to freehold and the lessee must provide a minimum of 50% of the caravan park sites to be available to tourist tenancy at all times.
"This condition was removed under the Newman Government in April 2014 following an application in October 2013," the spokesperson said.
"Caloundra SEQ subsequently applied for a conversion to freehold in May 2014. A Deed of Grant was issued to convert Lot 764 to freehold in February 2018. A covenant was registered over the Deed of Grant to ensure the future use and development of the land was restricted to continuing to remain as a caravan park.
"The site is also listed as a Heritage site under the Queensland Heritage Act."
SEQ Caloundra Properties Pty Ltd was headed by the late Queensland business identity Thomas Booker who died last year.