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Australia Great Keppel Island developers rejected by Queensland government leaving locals 'bewildered'

05:00  22 june  2021
05:00  22 june  2021 Source:   msn.com

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A local business owner says the state government 's latest rejection of the new developer is another blow for the central Queensland island . "This found that the company does not have, nor has it secured, the financial capability to deliver the proposed development ," he said. "For this reason the lease transfer to Altum will not occur. "This government remains committed to seeing development on Great Keppel Island , which is why we have already committed million for the development of common-user infrastructure on the island ."

Vandalism of the dilapidated Great Keppel Island Resort is out of control, with teenagers travelling to the island intent on causing damage, potential redevelopers say. Key points: Police are investigating two suspicious fires on Great Keppel Island at the weekend. She said he had raised the issue with the council land local members, and that construction needed to get started for greater passive surveillance. "You don't get this sort of vandalism and damage when you've got an active presence," Ms McCready said.

an island in the middle of a body of water: The state government says the Great Keppel Island lease transfer to Altum Properties will not be happening. (Supplied: Tower Holdings) © Provided by ABC Business The state government says the Great Keppel Island lease transfer to Altum Properties will not be happening. (Supplied: Tower Holdings)

In another blow to the central Queensland tourism industry, the state's Resources Minister says the developer set to take over the leases of Great Keppel Island does not have the financial capability to deliver the proposed development.

Sydney-based developer Tower Holdings leased the 160-hectare resort off the Capricorn Coast for $16.5m in 2006, but it closed during the global financial crisis two years later.

A $600 million development masterplan including golf courses, shops, a casino and marina was approved in 2012, but issues were raised over casino licences and the land went up for lease in 2018.

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The Queensland Government has rejected claims it gave a parcel of land on Great Keppel Island to an Indigenous group because of political connections. Opposition spokesman David Gibson told Parliament the former deputy premier Terry Mackenroth worked as a consultant for resort operator Tower Mr Gibson asked if the Government was doing a mate a favour by transferring the land to the Indigenous group. But Natural Resources Minister Craig Wallace told Parliament his department dealt independently with Woppaburra. "I totally reject any suggestion that Mr Mackenroth or anyone else

Keppel Island (Spanish: Isla de la Vigia) is one of the Falkland Islands , lying between Saunders and Pebble islands , and near Golding Island to the north of West Falkland on Keppel Sound. It has an area of 3,626 hectares (8,960 acres) and its highest point, Mt. Keppel , is 341 metres (1,119 ft) high.

Sunshine Coast-based developers Altum Property Group signed a contract to take over the lease in 2019.

But Resourses Minister Scott Stewart released a statement today rejecting the new developer based on the findings of an independent financial and managerial capability assesment by Deloitte.

"This found that the company does not have, nor has it secured, the financial capability to deliver the proposed development," he said.

"For this reason the lease transfer to Altum will not occur.

"This government remains committed to seeing development on Great Keppel Island, which is why we have already committed $30 million for the development of common-user infrastructure on the island."

Developer not giving up

Altum director Rob McCready said the developer wanted to proceed with the project and was committed to working with the Queensland government and Tower Holdings.

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The previous LNP government rejected Tower's bid for a licence last year, so the consortium had been lobbying the Palaszczuk Government for a change of heart. However, on Friday, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad dismissed the idea of a casino licence for Great Keppel Island . "What Tower have put forward as an alternative was a boutique licence, around 35 tables, about the same footprint that you would find in the poker machine area of Keppel Bay Sailing Club. "I don't think that the State Government can walk away that quickly from looking at an option that they haven't explored before."

He said "high-level meetings" would be held this week.

"We're very disappointed, we've been working on the project now for two years and it's roadblock after roadblock," Mr McCready said.

"Now the Minister has concluded that we don't have the financial capability to undertake the project but let me clarify … basically what that means is we don't have the $1.5 billion in our bank account to carry out the whole project."

Mr McCready said it was unusual to expect a developer to have all the money for a project of its scale before any land transfers took place.

"They're a bit too focused on 'What money do you have in your bank account?' versus 'Do you have the ability to see this succeed?'" he said.

A new glamping proposal

Mr McCready said the company had spent months negotiating with the Department of Resources to plan the early stages of a "glamping tent hotel" at Fisherman's Beach, where the old resort building was."This will consist of 50 eco tents, a start to cleaning up the rubbish on the island, and provide passive surveillance to put an end to the vandalism and arson that has plagued the island over the past few years," he said.

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A billion-dollar development on a remote and largely untouched Queensland island has been given the green light, against the wishes of the local council, after the Queensland Government took the rare step of intervening in the process. Up and down the coast, several island resort proposals have been left unbuilt, with developer Tower Holdings struggling to get finance to build a mega resort on Great Keppel Island for 10 years. Eaton Place's director Peter Scarf said he was confident the company will get everything done in two years.

Half of Queensland ’s resort islands are closed leaving once glittering tourist hot spots derelict and abandoned.Source:News Regional Media. The dozens of in-demand resort islands dotted along the Queensland coast were once some of the most lavish and picturesque holiday destinations in the world. Great Keppel Island Resort’s remaining buildings have been heavily vandalised.Source:News Regional Media. Late last year, Singapore-Taiwanese company Wei Chao purchased the site for a rumoured million. Knight Frank agent Ben McGrath helped manage the sale and described the

"The glamping tent hotel will give the island much-needed additional beds to cope with the boom in regional tourism while planning and design on the breakwall, barge ramp, and ferry terminal is completed.

"Once we're ready to build the hotel, the glamping tent hotel will be re-located."

Altum has put in a new lease transfer application, which it hoped would provide more certainty to the Queensland government about their financial capability."The glamping offer requires a straightforward approval from local government," Mr McCready said.

A rollercoaster ride

Accommodation operator Geoff Mercer has been on the island for more than 40 years and described the development as "a roller-coaster ride".

"I'm a bit bewildered at this point in time that when [Altum] can build a $200 million product in Noosa and complete that ... how any development can't be seen in sections," he said.

"Nobody's going to go through and build a development of this size in one go.

"It beggars belief that you've got to be expected to show that you have all these funds. That would be impossible."

Mr Mercer questioned the government's suggestion to "force Altum into some sort of sublease".

"I'm surprised the government is pushing it that way to make Tower ultimately responsible for something that they've had in their hands since 2006," he said.

The state government announced another $4.4 million for the island in last week's budget.

Mr Mercer said he would meet with Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe when he visited the island on Wednesday.

"I look at Altum, they're Australian, they're young men, they've got runs on the board — prior to that we had all sorts of messy stuff with overseas people wanting to come in," he said.

"My comments [to Mr Hinchliffe] will be something needs to happen and these folk are the best contenders that we've seen."

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