Tourism Minister ground proofs Great Keppel Island
Posted on June 24th, 2021
Earlier this week, Queensland’s Minister for Resources, Scott Stewart announced that the transfer of the Great Keppel Island resort leases from Tower Holdings to Altum Property Group would not proceed based on the Financial Management Capability Assessment (FMCA).
In response, Altum Property Group announced that despite this major setback after many months of negotiation that they were still keen to work with State Government to develop a luxury camping experience on Fisherman’s Beach as the first stage of the Great Keppel Island Revitalisation Project.
On Tuesday night, Capricorn Enterprise CEO, Mary Carroll hosted Minister for Tourism, Stirling Hinchliffe, Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga, together with our gold and platinum tourism members for a private dinner at The Waterline Restaurant. A number of topics were discussed with the key topic being the future of Great Keppel Island resort.
Amongst the conversation, the key theme of discussions centred around the fact that Great Keppel Island is the only major commercial island on the Queensland coast without adequate access for all users via a built structure (barge/ramp/terminal) for vessels and people.
On Wednesday, the Minister for Tourism, Member for Keppel, representatives from the Department of Tourism and Department of State Development, Livingstone Shire Council’s Mayor Andy Ireland and CEO Cale Dendle, and Capricorn Enterprise CEO, Mary Carroll took a tour of the abandoned resort site, followed by a number of meetings with key tourism operators.
An open meeting with all stakeholders including business and island residents, Woppaburra representatives, Tower Holdings representatives (via phone) and Altum Property Group’s Rob McCready, also occured.
As a long-term advocate for any development and innovation on Great Keppel Island, Capricorn Enterprise CEO, Mary Carroll was fortunate for the opportunity to co-host Government influencers allowing them to see and hear first-hand from island staff, residents, stakeholders, and custodians.
“It was wonderful to co-host a Minister to the island to eye-ball the existing properties,” Mary said.
“This was his first time on the island for 18 years, and prior to this appointment, the last time a Minister visited the island was back in April 2007 when Deputy Premier Anna Bligh and Natural Resources Minister Craig Wallace handed over five parcels of free-hold land (170 hectares – roughly 12% of Great Keppel Island) to the Woppaburra Land Trust.”
“Minister Hinchliffe and other officials attended one on one meetings with key operators and island residents to hear their points of view and it was a great opportunity for him to hear first-hand their views, opinions, challenges and hopes.”
Mary said that it was encouraging to not only co-host the Minister, but also have an opportunity to speak openly and honestly about the destination and industry, particularly on Great Keppel Island.
“The Minister has definitely gone away with a much clearer understanding of the key issues including accessibility, both to and on the island, along with a much better understanding of the key operational issues that affect our operators every day,” Mary said.
“He was particularly keen to understand how the $30-million-dollar State Government common user infrastructure should be spent and the common theme that he heard and acknowledged was that improved access to the island via built form is key to underpinning any future improvements and development.”
The Great Keppel Island Revitalisation Project remains a very complex issue involving multiple government departments and a number of moving pieces that have to align to result in the best possible outcome for the destination.
“Capricorn Enterprise, as we have always done, will continue to work with all of the islands proponents and all levels of government to ensure the advancement and success of our entire region.”