Australia: Queensland government approves massive reef resort

News - March 5, 2013

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The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a massive new Great Barrier Reef resort is another step closer to being built after the Queensland government approved the plans.

The A$600 million Great Keppel Island resort would become one of the largest tourism developments in the country if the federal government gives it the green light.

Tower Holdings’ plans for the island off Rockhampton, central Queensland, include a hotel, hundreds of villas, dozens of apartments, a large marina and a golf course.

Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said all possible environmental impacts had been covered under 38 pages of conditions which the developers would have to abide by.

‘‘This decision is a major milestone to getting this new eco-tourism plan delivered,’’ he said in a statement.

The resort would create hundreds of construction jobs and once it was built about 1000 people would be employed permanently to work there, Mr Seeney said.

The project would use 3.5 per cent of the island for infrastructure compared with the eight per cent suggested in a previous plan rejected by the Commonwealth in 2009.

The Sydney Morning Herald said that plan was one of two declined by the federal government for environmental reasons.The Australian Greens have previously opposed the project, calling it a ‘‘white elephant’’ and scoffing at its eco-tourism label.

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