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    Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Jeff Seeney

    Proposed Great Keppel Island eco-tourism resort project approved

    Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Jeff Seeney

    Saturday, March 02, 2013

    Proposed Great Keppel Island eco-tourism resort project approved

    A $600 million resort development proposed for Great Keppel Island has been given the green light by the Queensland Coordinator-General.

    Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said the Coordinator-General’s approval was a significant step forward for what would be one of the biggest tourism developments in the country.

    “It will be the first major new tourism project within the Great Barrier Reef in 25 years,” Mr Seeney said.

    The Great Keppel Island proposal is for a hotel, eco-resort villas and apartments, and a marina and golf course.

    “It would provide a huge boost to both the construction and tourism industries - two of Queensland’s four key economic pillars - creating hundreds of construction jobs over a 12 year construction period and more than a 1000 permanent operational jobs.”

    Mr Seeney said the proponents had demonstrated that they would deploy world’s best- practice environmental standards.

    “The Coordinator-General’s report contains 38 pages of conditions covering all the possible impacts of the project,” he said.

    “This decision is a major milestone to getting this new eco-tourism plan delivered.

    “The project had been languishing for many years under the previous state government and numerous delays caused by the Commonwealth.

    “It is very pleasing to see that in just 10 months the new Coordinator-General has brought it to a conclusion, with best practice features throughout the proposal.”

    He said GKIR would deliver a number of significant environmental outcomes including:

    ·         A 575 hectare environmental protection precinct (45% of the island) to be rehabilitated and protected in perpetuity

    ·         Buffer zones to protect habitats and provide fauna corridors

    ·         Potentially Australia’s first carbon-positive resort island with more than 24,000 solar panels to be installed to meet the resort’s energy needs

    ·         Re-use of dredge material from the marina in geo-textile tubes for construction of a breakwater

    ·         100% recycling of wastewater with no ocean outfall

    Mr Seeney said the proposed staged development, 12 kilometres off the Central Queensland coast at Yeppoon, would start with a 250 room hotel at Fisherman’s Beach with accompanying restaurants and conference facilities.

    “The company has also proposed a 250-berth marina at Putney Beach including a yacht club and hardstand storage and about 150 marine precinct apartments, a ferry terminal and staff accommodation,” he said.

    Mr Seeney said subsequent stages of the project would include:

    ·         750 eco-resort villas incorporating sustainable building design such as rooftop solar panels and water tanks

    ·         a further 150 eco-resort apartments also incorporating sustainable building designs

    ·         a Greg Norman designed golf course which will form an essential part of the resort’s wastewater re-use and treatment infrastructure

    “The GKIR proposal equated to the use of only 3.5 per cent of the island for infrastructure compared to 8 per cent in a previously proposed design refused by the Federal Government in October 2009,” he said.

    Mr Seeney said the resort is committed to achieving a net carbon positive energy status and the 24,000 solar panels on the resort infrastructure rooftops are expected to generate enough energy to offset and surpass the resort’s emissions.

    “The innovative re-use of dredge material in the marina breakwaters will eliminate the need for sea dumping and no ocean outfalls of wastewater would ensure Great Barrier Reef World Heritage values are protected,” he said.

    “The Newman Government is working to grow the state economy and provide Queenslanders with job opportunities while ensuring the protection of the Great Barrier Reef.”

    The proposal must also gain Federal approvals to proceed.

    [ENDS] 2 March 2013

    Media Contact: John Wiseman 0409 791 281