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Queensland government approves massive reef resort

Date

Miranda Forster

An artist's impression of a proposed eco-friendly hotel at Fisherman's Beach on Great Keppel Island.

An artist's impression of a proposed eco-friendly hotel at Fisherman's Beach on Great Keppel Island.

A massive new Great Barrier Reef resort is another step closer to being built after the Queensland government approved the plans.

The $600 million Great Keppel Island resort would become one of the largest tourism developments in the country if the federal government gives it the green light.

Tower Holdings’ plans for the island off Rockhampton, central Queensland, include a hotel, hundreds of villas, dozens of apartments, a large marina and a golf course.

Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said all possible environmental impacts had been covered under 38 pages of conditions which the developers would have to abide by.

‘‘This decision is a major milestone to getting this new eco-tourism plan delivered,’’ he said in a statement.

The resort would create hundreds of construction jobs and once it was built about 1000 people would be employed permanently to work there, Mr Seeney said.

The project would use 3.5 per cent of the island for infrastructure compared with the eight per cent suggested in a previous plan rejected by the Commonwealth in 2009.

That plan was one of two declined by the federal government for environmental reasons.The Australian Greens have previously opposed the project, calling it a ‘‘white elephant’’ and scoffing at its eco-tourism label.

The party has been contacted for comment.

The Queensland Tourism Industry Council said the sector had been anticipating the Great Keppel Island resort for a long time.

Chief executive Daniel Gschwind said it had broad support in the local community and if it goes ahead, it would become a major attraction for Queensland.

‘‘It can leverage off what is probably Australia’s single most important national attraction, the Great Barrier Reef,’’ he said.

Mr Seeney said the previous state government had allowed the project to languish for many years and added that it had also been hindered by the Commonwealth.

Conditions for the Great Keppel resort:

  • 45 per cent of island to be protected
  • Buffer zones included to protect animals
  • 24,000 solar panels to make it a ‘‘carbon positive’’ resort
  • Dredge material to be re-used to build a breakwater
  • All wastewater from resort to be recycled.  

Source: Queensland government

AAP 

37 comments so far

  • "The project would use 3.5 per cent of the island for infrastructure compared with the eight per cent suggested in a previous plan "
    "45 per cent of island to be protected
    Could someone please help me reconcile these two figures. Fudging perhaps.

    Commenter
    Peter.
    Location
    Logan
    Date and time
    March 02, 2013, 3:43PM
    • What's the problem? The other 51.5% is being used by the existing housing, resorts, businesses and airport.

      Commenter
      Bob
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      March 02, 2013, 4:01PM
    • I would assume that infrastructure is ground covered by something, like a building, cement or roads.
      Areas like common grassed areas, golf courses nature walks etc would not be infrastructure.

      Commenter
      Tyrone Biggums
      Date and time
      March 02, 2013, 4:06PM
    • Well that is two irreconcilable interpretations, right there.

      So the figures are still inconsistent.

      So if , say, 20% of an island get clear-felled and bulldozed flat, and then one-tenth of that gets covered by an actual building and the rest by a huge car-park, has 20% been "developed", or 2% ?

      Commenter
      enno
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      March 03, 2013, 2:49PM
  • I guess I'm mostly okay with this, apart from the golf course. I imagine a half of the area of the resort (i.e., a half of the forest that would have to be cleared) would have to be dedicated to the golf course, a facility that only a small fraction of the guests would use. I can't see how this is justified on a small, fragile island.

    Peter: as I understand it, it means that 3.5% is resort, 45% is national park, and the remaining 41.5% is unprotected, meaning it's available for building future resorts.

    Commenter
    ivaninbrisbane
    Date and time
    March 02, 2013, 4:24PM
    • I hope the Queensland Gov has made it clear it is the developers risk on sea level change, and storm damage. Also I hope they are self insuring so I don't get slugged with the higher insurance rates when the claims come in!

      So short term thinking by the Liberals

      Commenter
      Disbeleif
      Date and time
      March 02, 2013, 4:39PM
      • um "24,000 solar panels to make it a 'Carbon positive' resort"

        - I'm thinking that will take up the whole island,
        - Carbon positive? I think Carbon negative would be better, but
        - Solar panels won't even make the place carbon neutral, you need to be able to capture carbon to make yourself neutral, so you need to capture even more to be better than neutral (call that what you will, positive, or negative)

        Commenter
        Dan
        Location
        Brisbane
        Date and time
        March 02, 2013, 5:05PM
        • lol huh ?

          Commenter
          Branco
          Date and time
          March 02, 2013, 6:26PM
        • So they will burn candles at night ?

          Commenter
          enno
          Location
          sydney
          Date and time
          March 03, 2013, 2:55PM
      • The white shoe brigade business never really went away it seems. Keppel is at the southern end of the GBR and coral and diverse sea life are not what use it to be anyway. I am not sure about eco cred either as surely impacts must rise due to its very scale.If it was built, would anyone go for a limited reef island experience? This project has no sausage but lots of sizzle which rings a risk alarm bell for me.

        Commenter
        seen it coming
        Location
        brissy for now
        Date and time
        March 02, 2013, 5:43PM

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