Australian Kite Surfari operating from Cape Flattery in the Far North has been hit hard by a biosecurity lockdown of Cape York. Picture: SUPPLIED
Australian Kite Surfari operating from Cape Flattery in the Far North has been hit hard by a biosecurity lockdown of Cape York. Picture: SUPPLIED

Cape York lockdown ‘like the Berlin Wall’

A CAPE York tourist operator is appalled thousands can protest in contravention of COVID laws but he can't visit his dying mother in Cairns or get essential tour vehicles repaired while the Cape remains in the grip of revenue-killing lockdown.

About 12 years ago Anthony Hadleigh leased a patch of land from traditional owners at Cape Flattery to take advantage of world-class wind conditions and set up a kitesurfing mecca catering to enthusiasts from all over the world.

But not a single visitor has been on the water in four months in what the business owner described as an oppressive and unfair lockdown.

 

Australian Kite Surfari operating from Cape Flattery in the Far North has been hit hard by a biosecurity lockdown of Cape York. Picture: SUPPLIED
Australian Kite Surfari operating from Cape Flattery in the Far North has been hit hard by a biosecurity lockdown of Cape York. Picture: SUPPLIED

 

"I have worked every day of my life to change my life … to try and follow my dream of building a self sustainable ecotype camp," he said.

"And we have done that but if we don't open until mid-July we have lost two thirds of our season, it's not going to viable us to open by the time we pay public liability and do all the rest of it."

Mr Hadleigh was angry at having to knock back paying customers while other Queensland destinations got ready for the school holiday rush.

"We have had three emails today from people wanting to support our business and we can't even take a booking from these people," he said.

 

Thousands march through the Cairns CBD chanting and waving placards to protest black deaths in custody and support the Black Lives Matter movement. Picture: PETER CARRUTHERS
Thousands march through the Cairns CBD chanting and waving placards to protest black deaths in custody and support the Black Lives Matter movement. Picture: PETER CARRUTHERS

 

"And yet everyone in Cairns is saying we have to get tourists back and asking 'how do we do it' and we are knocking them back every day."

"There is just no common sense, how can they have a Black Lives Matter protest in Cairns and we can't open our business."

On top of business worries Mr Hadleigh has been denied a request on compassionate grounds to visit his sick mother in Cairns.

"For me to leave to see my dying mum, there is a few weeks wait in the quarantine facility and then you have to be there for two weeks," he said.

 

Australian Kite Surfari operating from Cape Flattery in the Far North has been hit hard by a biosecurity lockdown of Cape York. Picture: SUPPLIED
Australian Kite Surfari operating from Cape Flattery in the Far North has been hit hard by a biosecurity lockdown of Cape York. Picture: SUPPLIED

 

"I can't leave my partner on a deserted beach in the middle of nowhere for up to a month on her own.

"It's like the Berlin Wall separating families using the police and army."

The Hope Vale business owner has also been denied requests to repair vehicles in Cairns used to collect tourists from Port Douglas.

"They declined my permit as non-essential and told me I would have put my vehicle on a truck. So I would have to hire a semi to (carry) an 18-seater four-wheel-drive truck to take it to Cairns," he said.

It's expected the federal biosecurity lockdown for some parts of the Cape will end this Friday but the Hope Vale indigenous community could remain an exclusion zone.

 

 

Originally published as Cape York lockdown 'like the Berlin Wall'


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