GKI plans up to Garrett

UPDATE: Garrett torpedoes resort

FEDERAL Environment Minister Peter Garrett could scupper the billion-dollar redevelopment of Great Keppel Island next week.

The minister has the authority to step in and rule against Tower Holdings' revised plans for a resort on environmental grounds.

But a spokesman for the company said yesterday it was confident Mr Garrett would instead declare the project a “controlled action”.

If he does, then an Environmental Impact Study into the proposals would be accredited to address matters on behalf of Federal and State governments.

“We are confident Mr Garrett will say that any decision on the plans should be made after the EIS,” said the spokesman.

“We applied for this assessment and welcome the most stringent environmental investigation,” he said.

“It is important to understand that we are not asking Mr Garrett or the Australian Government for any approval, simply for the project to be assessed.”

He said the company believed the Government would recognise the importance of the project to the struggling Australian tourism industry.

“It will be the largest investment in new tourism in a generation and has the opportunity to create 1400 new jobs and diversify the Central Queensland economy,” he said.

Tower maintains the resort's 300-room hotel, 300 apartments, 1700 low-rise villas, 560-berth marina, ferry terminal, retail village, championship golf course and environmental parkland, would establish the environmental benchmark for tourism projects.

The company flew to Townsville yesterday to meet with officers of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to discuss the plans.

“We will be striving for a six-star Green Globe rating ...”

Mr Garrett is expected to make an announcement on the project next week.



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