Tower gets state approval for GKI

The Queensland government has approved the $600 million Tower Holdings resort proposal on Great Keppel Island.

Queensland’s coordinator-general has approved a proposal for a 250-room hotel, 750 eco-resort villas and apartments, a 250-berth marina and a golf course, according to deputy premier Jeff Seeney.

He said the project, 12km off the coast at Yeppoon, would be one of the biggest tourism developments in the country while using “world’s best practice environmental standards”.

The proposal must gain federal government approval to proceed but tourism minister Martin Ferguson gave a strong indication this was imminent.

Mr Seeney said the staged development would begin with the 250-room hotel, accompanying restaurants and conference facilities at Fisherman’s Beach, marina and airstrip. The 250-berth marina at Putney Beach, includes a yacht club and hardstand storage, 150 marine precinct apartments, a ferry terminal and staff accommodation. Subsequent stages would include sustainable building designs such as rooftop solar panels and water tanks for the 750 eco-resort villas.

He said a Greg Norman Australian designed golf course was an essential part of resort’s wastewater reuse and treatment infrastructure and a great lure for tourists.

Tower Holdings development manager Anthony Aiossa said, “Over the past 10 years, a lot of Australians have been going overseas for their holidays to places like Bali, Fiji and Thailand, and there have been a number of reasons for that – the strong Australian dollar, cheaper flights and a boom in the Asian tourism product on offer.

“This is going to give Australians a genuine alternative.”

Great Keppel’s existing resort would be demolished and the new project developed over 12 years. The proposal is significantly scaled back from Tower’s initial plans, that were rejected by the federal government in 2009.

Conditions for the Great Keppel resort:

• 45% 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.

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