The Queensland government in Australia has approved an A$1.2bn ($866m) tourism project on Hummock Hill Island, taken up by developer Eaton Place, subject to certain conditions.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said that the approval provides certainty for the job-creating project in the Gladstone region.
Dick said: “We have stepped in, listened and acted for jobs and economic prosperity in the Gladstone region.
“This $1.2 billion project will support 190 construction jobs per year over 17 years and will deliver a tourism boom for the Gladstone region, supporting up to 700 ongoing operational jobs.
“Tourism is one of the main drivers of job creation in regional Queensland, and a project of this scale is too important to languish in the Planning and Environment Court for years.
“By using his legislative step-in powers, the Coordinator-General has ensured the project can go ahead – delivering certainty to the proponent, Eaton Place, and locals who want to see this development bring more tourists to the region.”
Under the proposal, an integrated, master-planned resort will be developed on Hummock Hill Island in Rodds Bay, 30km south-east of Gladstone.
The proposal includes plans for tourist accommodation, holiday units and camping grounds for 2,700 people, and permanent housing up to 30%.
Commercial and retail outlets, community and recreation facilities, including a boat ramp, cultural centre and an 18-hole golf course, and a bridge to the mainland will also be constructed.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said that the project will be an important part of the Southern Great Barrier Reef tourism pitch.
She said: “Tourism is vital for Gladstone’s economy and this project will be a game-changer for the local industry.
“We’re working with the private sector to leverage infrastructure that will create hundreds of jobs in central Queensland.
“We know the next generation of tourists are looking for unique experiences. That’s exactly what Hummock Hill will provide – a one-off experience visitors can’t get anywhere else.
“The Palaszczuk government is investing more in this industry than any government in Queensland’s history because we’re committed to creating new tourism jobs in key destinations like Gladstone.”
Early works for the construction are expected to commence in 2020.
The Coordinator-General intervened after Gladstone Regional Council decided to refuse the development application in May 2018 and an application, by Eaton Place, to review the decision in the Planning and Environment Court.
According to an assessment by the Coordinator-General, there are significant economic and social benefits that justify the project’s approval.
Image: Hummock Hill Island development. Photo: Courtesy of Capricorn Conservation Council.