STATE Opposition leader John-Paul Langbroek (pictured) stands accused of back-flipping over his support for Tipplers on South Stradbroke Island.
As the campaign to have Tipplers reopened escalates, the Marine Action Group (MAG) believes it has been betrayed by Langbroek and the LNP.
MAG spokesman Keith Douglas, says Langbroek told him privately at a LNP gathering in Cairns that he would give Tipplers back to the boaties if elected as premier. But Langbroek describes a different version of events to Gold Coast Business News.
“I have given no commitment for the future of Tipplers under an LNP government,” he says.
“Future use of Tipplers is a matter for its owners, currently the Gold Coast City Council, and would not be a high priority for an LNP government.”
Douglas, who was Marine Queensland’s guest at the Cairns event, says the LNP leader’s changed position is upsetting.
“Langbroek promised me that he would give Tipplers straight back to the boating community if elected premier,” says Douglas.
“He asked me to email him the Marine Queensland submission to Gold Coast City Council and pledged his support for our cause. Now, after speaking to his minders, it seems he has changed his position. If he cannot back up what he says on this issue, I’d have to raise serious questions about his longevity and toughness as the state’s opposition leader.”
It comes after MAG challenged Mayor Ron Clarke to publicise the council’s pre-purchase consultation report.
Douglas says a serious question mark looms over the legitimacy of the consultation process.
“We can’t find anybody who was consulted about the purchase of Tipplers and we know that Marine Queensland, the representative industry body was certainly not consulted,” he says.
“Ron Clarke needs to back up his claims. We don’t want any more council spin, we want facts – it is (his) credibility that is at stake here.”
The mayor responded to the latest confrontation with the lobby group by reiterating that ‘everyone has a say in the future of Tipplers’.
“That’s why we put out an expression of interest campaign to see what ideas organisations such as Marine Action Group had for the Tipplers precinct,” says Clarke.
“We are now finalising a draft masterplan for Tipplers and the wider South Stradbroke Island resort. To ensure all residents have a say in the shaping of this draft masterplan, council has launched a community engagement program which is running at present.”
Douglas has slammed both Clarke and council CEO Dale Dickson for a ‘betrayal of public trust’, and now adds Langbroek to his list of leaders he deems to ‘be completely out of touch with the public’.
“I’m not worried about John-Paul Langbroek because we will make this an election issue,” he says.
“The MAG is putting the finishing touches on a serious advertising campaign and we are planning something very big for the next few weeks. We aren’t going away and fully intend to amp up our campaign.”
Langbroek confirmed that a conversation took place with Douglas at an LNP event in North Queensland, but says he has given no commitment to the issue.
“I’ve known Keith Douglas from when he was a candidate before but also as a former constituent of mine, and he spoke to me about the issue and I said ‘to be honest I think it is a council issue’,” he says.
“My concern would always be about governance issues in terms of the principles, but no I haven’t formed a view about what should happen at Tipplers because to be honest my mind is more across pressing State Government matters.”
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