Garrett happy to talk with Tower

ENVIRONMENT Minister Peter Garrett says his office is prepared to help Tower Holdings submit proposals for a development on Great Keppel Island that he would find acceptable.

The former rock singer surprised everyone last Friday when he declared the revised plan for a $1.1 billion super resort on the island was “clearly unacceptable”.

Tower Holdings, and anti-development campaigners, had expected the development application for a hotel, apartments, villas, marina, shops and golf course, to be the subject of an Environmental Impact Study taking many months.

But Mr Garrett made it clear to The Morning Bulletin yesterday he was not opposed to a development that was smaller in scale.

And he invited Tower to “sit down with the Environment Department to discuss alternative proposals”.

In answer to questions from The Bully, a spokesman for Mr Garrett’s office yesterday said Tower Holdings had the right to seek a review of the decision that had split the Central Queensland community.

“Additionally, the proponent is welcome to submit an alternative proposal which does not have this level of impact,” he said.

Asked if Mr Garrett would tell the developer what he would allow the spokesman said: “As with all major development proposals, the Minister recommends that the proponent engage early with the Federal Environmental Department. The proponent has been invited to sit down with the Department to discuss alternative proposals.”

In answer to the criticism made in letters and texts to The Morning Bulletin about Mr Garrett’s failure to visit GKI to see for himself the area that would be affected by Tower’s development, he said the Minister was very familiar with the region.

“He is also aware of the pressures and threats to the Reef. Mr Garrett’s decision-making process is based heavily on scientific and other expert advice.

“To make this decision, the Minister looked closely at what’s being proposed for the island and considered the advice and recommendation from the Federal Environment Department.”

No one from Tower was available yesterday to comment on whether the company would take up Mr Garrett’s offer to meet, but the project manager, Anthony Aiossa, issued a statement in which he said the company had been inundated with calls of support urging it to fight the decision.

“We are not in a position to comment on what action, if any, we will take,” he said.

“We are extremely disappointed and we are extremely heartened by the support of the local community since the decision was announced on Friday.”

Based on scientific and expert advice



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