10 May 2023

State govt shouldn't own Bramwell businesses: MPs

| Matt Nicholls
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The Bramwell Junction Roadhouse is critical to Cape York but is now owned by the state government.

THE state government body tasked to handle the business operations of Bramwell Station say they are committed to keeping the roadhouse and tourist park open, but questions have been raised over the transparency of the dealings.

In a statement to Cape York Weekly, the Department of Environment and Science said it was dealing with existing sub-lease holders to keep the tourist businesses up and running beyond November 30, when the keys are officially handed to the Queensland government.

“To ensure no inconvenience to the public, DES has dealt directly with the current operator and prospective sublessees,” a Department spokesperson said.


But Member for Traeger and Katter’s Australian Party leader Rob Katter said there needed to be more scrutiny on any arrangements made.

“Why hasn’t there been a tender process? I don’t think they have thought this through properly,” the MP said.

“The Palaszczuk government seems determined to aggressively acquire everything in the Cape and shut it down.

“They are still saying they want the tourism businesses to operate but haven’t even come to a formal agreement.

“And when did the state government become a business owner? Where else do they own a roadhouse and a tourist park?

“The businesses should have been split from the acquisition and sold on the open market.”

Stephen Bennett, the LNP’s spokesperson for tourism, called for the government to show its cards.

“The state government must be open and transparent with this regional community,” he said last week.

“This region relies on the amazing tourism attractions in its area.

“Failure to properly plan and deliver for this community could have serious ramifications.

“With a state as great as ours, we should be creating certainty for our tourism sector, not keeping them in the dark which will only drive people away.

“The Far North deserves better and the state government needs to start listening to this local community.

“There appears to be a lack of interest in the ongoing operations of this important tourism facility.

“And where is the local MP on all this? Again she’s nowhere to be seen.”

Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the state government seemed to be obsessed with locking up the Cape.

“They are in the process of fragmenting every industry in the Cape,” he said.

“Bramwell was not a hugely productive property but the roadhouse and tourist park were extremely successful ventures.

“The fact they don’t have a long-term lease locked up highlights the fact they don’t have a clue how to run a business.”

Mr Entsch agreed with his Katter counterpart, saying the state government should subdivide the lots and sell the two businesses.

“The state should be looking at making sure these businesses survive because they are crucial to the whole region,” he said.

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