Great Keppel Island has massive untapped tourism and employment potential to boost the local economy.
Great Keppel Island has massive untapped tourism and employment potential to boost the local economy.

EXCLUSIVE: $25M GKI makeover plan revealed

A NEW jetty, boat ramp and visitor facilities will form part of a $25 million State Government funded makeover of Great Keppel Island.

Construction on the infrastructure projects will begin in 2020, the Queensland Government has pledged.

Infrastructure planned for the island includes a cyclone rated jetty, barge slant boat ramp, solar with backup generators, visitor facilities including amenities, shade and seating, the rehabilitation of existing walking trails, new walking trails, a viewing platform and water treatment.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones, who will visit the CQ region today, said because the Morrison Government had "failed to commit any funding to GKI", the State Government would forge ahead on its own.

"With the global coronavirus pandemic still impacting markets around the world, the tourism industry will be vital to the economic recovery of this region," Ms Jones said.

"Today we're putting pedal to the metal to fast-track work on Great Keppel Island that will create jobs and help to attract more tourists to Central Queensland in months and years to come.

"This is all possible because we're continuing our health response and already delivering Queensland's plan for economic recovery."

Minister Jones said the State Government had hoped to deliver a mainland power and water connection with support from the Federal Government and the private sector.

The GKI rejuvenation project, which involves the installation of about 13.5km of power, water and telecommunications infrastructure between GKI and the mainland, along with the supply and installation of supporting infrastructure including on-island reticulation, pumping stations, substations and a reservoir, has been an issue of contention in recent months.

The Queensland Government had committed a total $31.8 million towards the project but had been unsuccessful in its bid to secure federal funding.

"With support from the Federal Government and the private sector, we hoped to also deliver a mainland power and water connection," Minister Jones said.

"Michelle Landry and Scott Morrison are happy to see the local tourism industry suffer but we're not.

"That's why we're forging ahead with new infrastructure like a boat ramp, jetty and upgrades to walking trails to create jobs and support the economic recovery of the tourism industry in Keppel."

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said infrastructure like walking trails, viewing platforms and jetties would benefit locals as well as tourism operators in the region.

"We are the only side of politics that is investing in new tourism infrastructure for Keppel," she said.

"We made a commitment to deliver $25 million worth of infrastructure and that's exactly what we're doing.

"I want to see boots on the ground, building this new infrastructure, creating jobs now - because I know that's what locals want.

"Tourism and construction will be vital to rebuilding the local economy. This $25 million injection will really help in the economic recovery of our community."

The $25 million makeover announcement comes after Noosa-based Altum Property Group, which is in the process of taking over the leases for Tower Holdings' stalled GKI Resort Development plan, earlier this month issued a statement warning it could walk away from the project if it didn't receive a solid commitment from the Queensland Government before the end of the month.

 

Infrastructure planned

•Cyclone rated jetty

•Barge slant boat ramp

•Solar with backup generators

•Visitor facilities including amenities, shade and seating

•Rehabilitate existing walking trails

•New walking trails

•Viewing platform

•Water treatment


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