Ex-developer in Hamilton Island clash


A Hamilton Island developer who went bust due to the effects of Cyclone Debbie after building a string of luxury projects in the holiday hotspot claims owners are disillusioned over the Island owner's heavy-handed management style.

Nigel Moore has been locked in an ugly feud with island owner Hamilton Island Enterprises, which peaked last year with a police probe into a clash between Mr Moore and a HIE staffer filmed snatching his phone from a cup holder as he sat in a golf buggy. Police did not lay charges over the incident.

Mr Moore has spoken out about his dispute with HIE, saying he was banned from setting foot on any HIE-owned venue after criticising the company.

"People are selling up because they are so disillusioned," he claimed.

Relations between Mr Moore and HIE deteriorated in late 2019 when an agreement allowing him to run a cleaning business on the Island, which serviced 45 apartments, was not renewed.



Former Hamilton Island developer Nigel Moore. Picture: Peter Wallis
Former Hamilton Island developer Nigel Moore. Picture: Peter Wallis



Mr Moore said it came about two years after he raised concerns about a HIE staffer while building the Hidden Cove apartments - the project that ended his developer career due to the impact of Cyclone Debbie.

HIE has disputed claims of heavy-handedness, saying many third party businesses operated on the Island and that it had helped Mr Moore's companies during the development of its last project "more than any other company in past history."

A spokesman said HIE had also spent a substantial sum repairing defects to the development. Mr Moore disputes HIE had paid for repairs on the project.

The former developer built four luxury apartment projects on Hamilton before two of his firms went bust over Hidden Cove, which he blamed on the impact of Cyclone Debbie lashing the Island in 2017.

He was tipped into bankruptcy in late 2019, with his companies owing more than $4 million to creditors, including up to $1.3 million to staff.

Liquidators appointed in mid-2019 found his building firm likely traded insolvent from mid-2017.

HIE in 2019 claimed Mr Moore was in breach of the contract allowing him to operate a cleaning business after transferring its ownership, with the agreement then expiring.

Hamilton Island is at the centre of a number of allegations made by former workers.
Hamilton Island is at the centre of a number of allegations made by former workers.

Mr Moore said he had obtained legal advice disputing the transfer in ownership was grounds not to continue the agreement.

Two of the cleaning company's golf buggies were later removed from the Island by HIE and cleaning staff warned they could no longer use areas of the airport set aside for businesses.

It also terminated Mr Moore's marina berth agreement.

The events set off a chain of events ending in a Whitsundays police probe into a complaint by Mr Moore over a clash with a HIE staffer in early 2020.

Mr Moore had driven his golf buggy to one of HIE's offices where he angrily confronted HIE staff over claims cleaning staff were being harassed by security when meeting guests at the airport.

Footage of the encounter from Mr Moore's phone shows a man approach him while he was seated in his golf buggy and grab his mobile phone from the golf buggy's cup holder.

The footage then ends abruptly. HIE claims Mr Moore was "displaying erratic behaviour and antagonising (HIE) employees" and had been asked to stop filming.

Police examined the footage and Island CCTV before deciding against laying charges.

Mr Moore says he intends to seek a copy of CCTV from police under freedom-of-information laws.

HIE later sent Mr Moore an exclusion notice barring him from entering any of its venues bar the IGA.

Originally published as Ex-developer in Hamilton Island clash