Couran Cove stoush set to continue as Queensland government unable to intervene

Couran Cove Island Resort residents are set to spend another night depending on the Red Cross to deliver basics after the state government said it was unable to end a long-running dispute over allegedly unpaid body corporate fees.

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said it would be “inappropriate” to intervene as there were multiple legal proceedings involving Couran Cove before the Supreme Court.

The South Stradbroke Island resort, north of the Gold Coast, is a mixture of holiday homes and residences, whose owners are obliged to pay body corporate levies for power, water and sewerage.

Property owners have been involved in a legal dispute with service providers over claims that millions of dollars are owed by body corporates.

Essential services axed

Electricity, gas and water were disconnected at 120 of the island’s 360 properties in February, according to Couran Cove operator Simon Napoli.

Mr Napoli said essential services were disconnected from the remaining properties on Monday as the company did not have “any further capacity to make interim payments on behalf of the bodies corporate who are failing to pay for their services”.

Ms Fentiman said directors-general from state government agencies had been meeting regularly to discuss how the their departments could assist the 40 residents who remained on the island.

She said the Department of Communities Recovery Team and the Australian Red Cross had already made multiple trips to the island to provide water, food vouchers and counselling.

“The government is doing everything we can to assist residents at what we know is an uncertain and distressing time,” Ms Fentiman said.

“The government will continue to monitor the situation and provide support to residents as appropriate, while we await the outcomes of the current court proceedings.”

Residents have been supplied with water and food vouchers.(ABC News: Heidi Sheehan)

Independent manager ‘not an option’

In a statement on Monday, Mr Napoli requested that the government appoint an independent manager to “deal with all the complex issues without emotion” to resolve the “dire situation”.

“It is our reasonable opinion that the appointment will need to be for a minimum of two years and more likely three years is needed,” he said.

But Ms Fentiman said such an option would not be feasible as “any manager would simply become another party to the ongoing legal disputes — meaning the parties would be right back where they started”.

“It is also not clear to the government in whose interest an administrator or manager would be working for – potentially resulting in additional legal disputes and challenges,” she said.

Mr Napoli said he hoped the government would reconsider its position.

“I’m not sure why an independent manager can’t be appointed here, so we would encourage that matter is considered,” he said.

He said the resort infrastructure operator would continue to cooperate with the government, Gold Coast City Council and local agencies to support affected residents.

Article source: www.abc.net.au

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