State Governments’ GKI infrastructure investment will underpin CQ’s long-tern tourism future
The announcement this week by the Altum Property Group of their intention to advance their bid to acquire the leases and associated development approvals to build a major resort and marina on Great Keppel Island (GKI) has certainly been welcomed news for our region.
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.
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 (MOU) with the State Government, by providing technical support and advice in relation to the land based components of the water infrastructure on both the mainland and GKI. These key infrastructure components will be scoped to ramp up in stages to meet the future needs of both the new resort development as well as the current and future needs of existing businesses and residents of the island.
The dividends to our community and the region from of this level of strategic investment by the State Government 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 as well as 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 that will be available for landscaping uses and, where needed, potential drought mitigation measures. This will also help ensure that the fragile aquafer of the island 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.
As a region we often have good cause to criticise other tiers of Government for not putting the level of support needed to grow our regional economy. In this case, similar to the joint investment that Council secured from the State and Federal Governments to realise the Yeppoon Lagoon and Foreshore Revitalisation, this major infrastructure investment by the State Government will generate an even greater success story that will pay dividends for our region for generations to come.