Keppel MP determined to see GKI revitalised
LOBBYING hard to see her $25 million election promise to revitalise Great Keppel Island realised, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga has not given up hope of seeing construction works commence before the next State Election in October.
Aiming to restore GKI to its former glory, Great Keppel Island Revitalisation Project was estimated to cost $63m - a bargain as far as Ms Lauga was concerned given that it would propel economic growth for current and future businesses, including the proposed resort.
The revitalisation project would see the installation of a 13.5 km power, water and telecommunications submarine cable linking the island to the mainland, along with the construction of pumping stations, substations, a reservoir on Great Keppel Island, and upgrades of mainland electrical network to 2.5MW.
The project's construction works would support an estimated 206 jobs, and a fully redeveloped GKI featuring an operational resort was previously estimated to create 1,500 jobs.
A passionate believer in the project, Ms Lauga didn't miss the opportunity to raise the issue with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk when she was in the region last week.
The Premier acknowledged the importance of the project in allowing the developer to get under way saying "that's the message I'm going to take back to Brisbane".
Regardless of what happened with Altum's bid to take over the leases for the GKI Resort Development, Ms Lauga said it was important that developers and existing tourism operators had the certainty of a mainland power and water supply.
"I spoke with the Premier when she visited and she knows it's incredibly important to this whole Central Queensland region to see that project delivered," Ms Lauga said.
"The State Government now has over $31m on the table and I have been putting this issue to the Premier, to the Federal Government and to every minster.
"They are sick of seeing in their office or my name come up on their phone because I know how important this project is to this region and I want to make sure that that project is delivered."
A Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation spokesperson said they were the only government that has committed funding to connect power and water to Great Keppel Island.
"The Federal Government has not provided any funding to support this project," the spokesperson said.
"The Queensland Government would welcome any support from the Federal Government to deliver this project and create more tourism jobs in the region."
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said she had previously urged the State Government to prepare an application for a loan through the independent Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).
"I am always willing to work with all levels of government to deliver job-creating projects that stand to boost the local economy. I believe my record on delivering billions of dollars' worth of projects and investment in Capricornia reflects that," Ms Landry said.
She accused Ms Lauga of not being interested in having a civilised discussion on how to deliver the project after previously making comments such as "kick in some dough" and "get out the cheque book".
"Her comments to date show me they are not looking for a long-term bipartisan partner to deliver this project to benefit locals, she is just looking for an endless stream of money to fund her election promise with no questions asked," Ms Landry said.
"My door is open for the Member for Keppel if she would like to meet to discuss this project further."
Queensland Senator Matt Canavan has previously stood on the beach at GKI with Ms Landry, talking up the promised 1,500 jobs a redeveloped island would deliver.
He said everyone wanted to see Great Keppel Island thriving again and delivering jobs for the Capricorn Coast, but we must develop a sustainable business case for its development.
"Once the Labor Party refused to give a boutique casino licence to our region, the case was always going to be challenging.
"Brittany Lauga has unfortunately been offering false hope.
"At the last state election she promised to build power and water infrastructure and there was no mention of the need for federal funding, so where is it?"