Australia

Federal Environment Minister inspects site of proposed Great Keppel Island development

FEDERAL Environment Minister Tony Burke this week visited Great Keppel Island to inspect the site of the proposed $600 million Great Keppel Island Marina and Tourism development.

The proposal includes a new hotel with 250 suites at Fisherman's Beach, 750 villas and 300 apartments across 53 hectares, a golf club and 18 hole golf course and a new marina at Putney Beach.

The development would occur in a number of stages over approximately 12 years, and according to the Queensland Government, the proposal equates to the use of 3.52 per cent of the island, compared to 8 per cent previously proposed.

The proposal would also ensure about 40 per cent of the island, or 575 hectares, would be an environmental protection area to be rehabilitated and protected in perpetuity.

The proponent, GKI Resorts Pty Ltd, is expected to soon provide its final environmental impact statement for the proposal, addressing public submissions.

The draft Environmental Impact Statement was open for public comment under the Australian Government's process until 22 October 2012, which allowed the public 60 days to respond.

The project is being assessed under national environment law because of its potential impacts on nationally threatened species, listed migratory species, World and National heritage places, Commonwealth marine areas and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

"Once the assessment process is complete, I will carefully consider the assessment, the advice of my department, and all public comments received before deciding whether or not the proposal should proceed," Mr Burke said.

"The nature of these decisions is that they cannot in any way be prejudged prior to the advice being finalised."

The project is also being assessed by the Queensland Government.

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