Power and water to Great Keppel Island would be a game changer.
Power and water to Great Keppel Island would be a game changer.

Great Keppel Island sale extension revealed

THE DEVELOPMENT group which has agreed to buy the Great Keppel Island leases from current owner Tower Holdings has revealed an extension to the settlement date has been negotiated.

On Sunday evening, Altum Property Group said the short extension provided additional time to finalise an arrangement with the Queensland Government to determine how its $30m contribution towards the $500m on-island common-user infrastructure project was to be delivered.

On August 18, Tourism Minister Kate Jones and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga announced that funds currently budgeted for a mainland undersea power and water connection to the island would be diverted to on-island infrastructure, including a jetty, barge ramp and various other visitor amenities.

"Unfortunately, these works were not aligned with Altum's GKI Revitalisation masterplan, and in some cases conflicted with this plan," Altum director Rob McCready said.

"Therefore, following the announcement, we sought an urgent meeting with Minister Jones to discuss the implications of what they had announced.

"In 48 hours, working closely with our consultants, we were able to present a revised plan which not only delivers the infrastructure announced by the state, but also continues to facilitate the GKI Revitalisation project which 85 per cent of locals want to go ahead."

Mr McCready added that Altum had been reassured by a letter issued on Friday, that in addition to the currently budgeted funds which were being redirected, the state remained committed to ensuring a sustainable long-term power and water solution for the island was attained.

"While this commitment alone is not sufficient to guarantee the project goes ahead, we are a step closer," he said.

"The GKI Revitalisation project is a public-private partnership and we are keen to work with the government to assist in improving this fantastic state-held asset, which will always be owned by Queenslanders."

Mr McCready said Altum had a short window of time to sign a Process Deed with the Queensland Government, which should facilitate an agreement on how the infrastructure was to be built.

"All going well, we hope to have this initial scoping phase completed within a fortnight, allowing us to commence work on the island in October and complete the transfer of the leases to Altum."

This month's $25 million makeover announcement from the Queensland Government came after the Noosa-based Altum Property Group issued a statement warning it could walk away from the project if it didn't receive a solid commitment from the government before the end of the month.

The GKI investment is expected to facilitate a further $1 billion in tourism development and generate $2.5b in economic benefit to the CQ region.

It is expected to create 1490 jobs for each of the 12 years of construction and 1500 ongoing operational jobs.



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