One tick to come for Keppel

Great Keppel Island.
Great Keppel Island. Supplied

GREAT Keppel Island resort redevelopment has to pass through one final hoop before it goes ahead.

Rockhampton Regional Council's chairman of Strategic Planning Cr Bill Ludwig expects that to happen this week when the Federal Government gives its decision on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) agreement.

Queensland Government approval for the project came last Friday.

The $600 million-dollar re-development, off the Capricorn Coast, north-east of Rockhampton, is expected to create 1500 jobs during its construction.

It has taken seven years and $50 million has been spent by the developer to get to this stage but the Federal Government has to approve the EPBC agreement before the first sod is turned.

Local business groups are ecstatic the State Government has granted approval for the biggest tourism development in the state for 30 years.

"There is no single bigger catalyst project for this region," Capricorn Enterprise chairman Grant Cassidy said at the weekend.

"Capricorn Enterprise has worked with, supported and encouraged the developer, Tower Holdings, every step of the way as this $600 million investment will be the largest tourism project we have ever seen.

"Premier Campbell Newman and his cabinet colleagues have been working around the clock to ensure this critical priority project has responded to environmental considerations while providing hope to our local and regional economy."

The development manager for Tower Holdings, Anthony Aiossa, said he was just thrilled by the decision.

"I am extremely pleased by the State Government's decision," he said.

"This project will be a great renaissance for tourism in this state and when it is completed it will be a place all people will be able to go to and enjoy," Mr Aiossa said.

Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll said: "Bravo to Tower Holdings for getting its approval.

"After nearly seven years, three plans, 90 consultants and $50 million worth of investment, Terry Agnew (owner of Tower Holdings) has finally received an approval which is supported by the local and regional community," Ms Carroll said.

"The State Government is to be commended for its leadership - now we need the Federal Government to expedite the approval process."

 

PLAN NEARLY IN THE CAN

ROCKHAMPTON Regional Council's chairman of Strategic Planning Cr Bill Ludwig has welcomed the State Government giving the green light to the Great Keppel Island Re-vitalisation Plan.

"And I believe within the next 72 hours we will have the Federal Government's decision and it will be in the affirmative, I feel very sure about that," Cr Ludwig said.

An artist’s impression of a research centre planned for Great Keppel Island.
An artist’s impression of a research centre planned for Great Keppel Island. Contributed

"And the GKI announcement, coming on the eve of the Livingstone Shire vote for a similar new beginning is fantastic news for both Livingstone and our region," Cr Ludwig said yesterday.

"This $600 million-dollar tourism development will not only put our region, and Queensland, squarely back on the tourism map, it will also put thousands of additional jobs, prosperity and solid confidence back into an already strongly growing Capricorn Coast.

"The positive impact this will have on growing the Livingstone rate-base, making us one of the most financially secure shires in the State, cannot be overstated.

"This will also create the opportunity for a new Livingstone Shire to provide the specialised focus that will be needed to re-establish the Capricorn Coast as a real powerhouse for tourism based economic development.

"We need to have a broader and longer-term strategic vision for this special part of our region," Cr Ludwig said.

 

DE-AMALGAMATION THREAT

LOCAL leaders fear de-amalgamation will severely hamper the Great Keppel Island resort going ahead even though it has got the "green light" from the State Government.

And the mayor of the Rockhampton Regional Council, Margaret Strelow, is one of those people fearing the worst if de-amalgamation is seized upon by the community.

The beautiful beaches @ Great Keppel Island (off the coast of Yeppoon Central Queensland) - User Contributed
The beautiful beaches @ Great Keppel Island (off the coast of Yeppoon Central Queensland) - User Contributed

"Immediately after my election as mayor of this wonderful region, the GKI revitalisation was at the top of my list of priorities," Cr Strelow said.

"The chairman of Capricorn Enterprise, Grant Cassidy, and I travelled to Sydney to meet with Terry Agnew from Tower Holdings (owner of Tower Holdings) to express our support on behalf of businesses and the wider community for this critical priority project.

"This $650 million development will create up to 1500 construction jobs and inject millions of dollars into our local and regional economy annually.

"Cr Bill Ludwig (Rockhampton Regional Council councillor) has never publicly supported the GKI revitalisation project.

"Yet he purports to support the tourism industry on the Capricorn Coast - instead he wants to split this great region and jeopardise the town planning approval process of this critical project even more."

 

READERS SUPPORT PROJECT

THE State Government green light for a $600 million resort on Great Keppel Island was welcomed by many on the weekend.

Support for the development flowed on The Morning Bulletin website, but some readers couldn't resist the chance for another de-amalgamation debate.

johnsview: Great news for the coast and for an independent Livingstone, jobs and tourist dollars will benefit the whole region.

Oldjonno: Martin Ferguson two weeks ago in national media pre-empted a final federal OK this coming week. So finally, after six years of frustration and an exhausting mountain of duplicated evaluation, the tourism industry, the economy and employment on the Capricorn Coast is on the verge of receiving its biggest boost in the last 40 years.

YODAIBE: Kick in the teeth for the "no" camp. This news will ensure Livingstone thrives for generations. Perfect timing.

TyallaC3034: How is a small council who will have its ratepayers paying for the cost of de-amalgamation going to find the funds and resources to put the infrastructure in for GKI before they see any returns. GKI belongs to everyone and not just Cap Coast. There have been many Rocky and Coastal Locals going in to bat for the project and they should be the ones to be congratulated for taking the time to look into it and support it.

veritas1: The region is moving ahead and RRC is helping to ensure this happens for us all. This decision shows clearly that a new LSC is not required for the Capricorn Coast to develop and grow.