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Palm Island: Totally Not A Leper Colony (Anymore)

Troubled island aims to lure tourists

Forgive me if I get too far into Marxist travel-agency here... but it strikes me as hilarious that it might be the case that a place has to be disease-ridden only long enough to allow tourists to forget and then re-remember that a place has pretty mountains for it to be saved from poverty and disease...

Enterprising locals want to junk its image of despair and instead entice tourists with horse treks, artwork and snorkeling. Just 35 miles from the coastal city of Townsville, the island boasts palm-fringed bays, rainforest and crystal clear waters, but outsiders, up until now, have been intimidated by its chronic social problems.

Unemployment among its 3,500 inhabitants, almost all of them Aborigines, runs at 90 per cent.