The announcement this week by the Altum Property Group of their intention to advance their bid for the leases and development approvals to build a major resort and marina on Great Keppel Island has certainly been welcomed news.
The announcement has also highlighted the importance of the State Government’s 2017 commitment to deliver the enabling power and water infrastructure to GKI that will underpin CQ’s long-term tourism future.
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At the time this commitment by the State Government was also the ‘kick-start’ needed to regain the momentum to attract the multi-million dollar private investment needed to finally get the GKI Revitalisation Project underway.
Over the past three years the State Government, to their credit, has been putting together the design and securing the necessary Great Barrier Reef Marine Park approvals for the power cables, water pipeline and high-speed internet connections.
Council has also been playing its part, under the Memorandum of Understanding with the State Government, by providing technical support and advice in relation to the land based components of the water infrastructure on the mainland and GKI. These key infrastructure components will be scoped to ramp up in stages to meet the future needs of the new resort development and the current and future needs of existing businesses and residents of the island.
The dividends from this level of strategic investment will be multi-faceted and range from economic uplift to some very positive long-term environmental outcomes.
The obvious and immediate economic returns will be the job creation in the power and water infrastructure construction phase and the flow-on employment generated during the construction phases of the resort and marina precinct.
The longer-term economic generators will be extraordinary with an estimated 1600 plus fulltime jobs directly generated in the tourism, associated supply-chain and service industry sectors. What also must be factored into the equation is the value of the long-term environmental benefits that will be realised on GKI from the supply of potable mainland water and the treated reuse water available for landscaping and, where needed, potential drought mitigation measures. This will help ensure the fragile aquafer will remain protected in perpetuity.
The availability of high-speed internet on GKI will also deliver a competitive advantage in attracting the national and international business conference market.
Similar to the joint investment council secured from the State and Federal Governments to realise the Yeppoon Lagoon and Foreshore Revitalisation, this major infrastructure investment will generate an even greater success story that will pay dividends for our region for generations to come.
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