Keppel MP explains what next with GKI ownership transfer
ALTERNATING between excitement and cautious optimism, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga is glad to see tangible progress with contracts exchanged to develop Great Keppel Island.
She regarded it as a "positive step forward” and pivotal moment in the colourful history of the island after years of waiting and the region losing an estimated 200,000 visitor nights.
"We're actually making progress towards making something happen on GKI, much closer than what we were even six months ago,” Mrs Lauga said.
After meeting with the new potential owners this week, she was pleased to hear about their vision for the island, plans to work in partnership with the existing business operators, the traditional owners and the local community.
Details are unclear about the exact nature of the transfer of the leases from original developer Tower Holdings to Singapore-based Wei Chao Pty Ltd, but the majority were expected to be transferred.
"What we're seeing here is a contract that's being signed with respect to the resort and some of the other commercial operations on the island but not the entirety of Tower Holdings' approved plans as it stands,” Mrs Lauga said.
"There is a provision in the contract with respect to the Clam Bay lease to be transferred in the future if that is desired by the investor.
"The Department of Natural Resources is working with Tower to determine exactly what will be required (to split the leases), there will be approval processes required with respect to the transfer of the leases and the government is working with Tower.
"It will all become clear in the coming months.”
Mrs Lauga said the State Government needed to make sure that any transfer to any new investor, proper due diligence was undertaken to ensure they were a fit and proper person or company with the financial capacity, not only to pay the lease fees but also to develop the resort.
"Which is what people in the Central Queensland community want to see - something to happen on Great Keppel Island,” she said.
"Government made it clear to Tower Holdings that any new investor that comes on board needs to be made very aware, that the government and the community expect something to happen on Great Keppel Island,” she said.
"We don't want a repeat of what's happened in the past, we want action and the government has made that very clear.”
The State Government is still investigating how it would best spend $25 million to provide power and water to GKI and Mrs Lauga reiterated her request to the Federal Government to contribute their fair share towards the revitalisation of the island.