The approval by Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General is subject to strict conditions.
Minister for state development, manufacturing, infrastructure and planning Cameron Dick said the decision provides certainty for the job-creating project. “This $1.2 billion project will support 190 construction jobs per year over 17 years and will deliver a tourism boom for the Gladstone region, supporting up to 700 ongoing operational jobs,” he said. “Tourism is one of the main drivers of job creation in regional Queensland, and a project of this scale is too important to languish in the planning and environment court for years.”
The proposal will deliver an integrated, master-planned resort on Hummock Hill Island in Rodds Bay, 30km south-east of Gladstone.
“Plans include tourist accommodation, holiday units and camping grounds for about 2,700 people, and potential permanent housing up to a maximum of 30 per cent,” said Dick. “There will be commercial and retail outlets, a range of community and recreation facilities including a boat ramp, cultural centre and an 18-hole golf course, and a bridge to the mainland.”
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the proposed development would be an important part of the Southern Great Barrier Reef tourism pitch, which focuses on future opportunities for central Queensland. “Tourism is vital for Gladstone’s economy and this project will be a game-changer for the local industry,” said Jones. “We’re working with the private sector to leverage infrastructure that will create hundreds of jobs in central Queensland. We know the next generation of tourists are looking for unique experiences. That’s exactly what Hummock Hill will provide – a one-off experience visitors can’t get anywhere else.”
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the project’s proponent has given a strong commitment that early works for the construction will start in 2020.
The Coordinator-General stepped in following Gladstone Regional Council’s decision to refuse the development application in May this year and an application, by Eaton Place, to review the decision in the Planning & Environment Court. The assessment concluded there are significant economic and social benefits, with robust environmental protections, that justify the project’s approval.
Gladstone Regional Council made a submission, making 26 recommendations to the Coordinator-General, 23 of which have been incorporated into the conditions of approval. “In total, 45 conditions have been applied to the approval, including the developer providing adequate provision of infrastructure to service a development of this size, and commencing construction in 2020,” said Dick. The proponent will provide all the infrastructure needed to service the development, at no cost to the state or ratepayer.