After initially being rejected by the Gladstone Regional Council, a $1.2 billion masterplanned resort on Hummock Hill Island in Rodds Bay will go ahead, subject to strict conditions.
The Coordinator-General stepped in following council’s decision to refuse the development application in May this year and an application, by developer Eaton Place, was lodged to review the decision in the Planning and Environment Court.
A total of 45 conditions have been applied to the approval, including the developer providing the infrastructure to construct and service the development at no cost to the state.
The 465-hectare masterplan, known as Pacificus, includes luxury hotels, a health spa resort, private villas and apartments as well as camping grounds for about 2,700 people.
There will also be commercial and retail outlets, a Great Barrier Reef Aquarium, Marine Research Centre, an Indigenous Arts and Cultural Centre, 18-hole golf course and a 200-metre bridge connecting to the mainland.
The sub-tropical island will provide visitors with tranquil beaches, panoramic views over the Coral Sea and be in close proximity to Heron, Lady Musgrave and Lady Elliot Islands.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the decision provides certainty for the job-creating project and stands as a huge vote of confidence in Gladstone.
“We have stepped in, listened and acted for jobs and economic prosperity in the Gladstone region,” Dick said.
“By using his legislative step-in powers, the Coordinator-General has ensured the project can go ahead – delivering certainty to both the proponent, Eaton Place, and locals who want to see this development bring more tourists to the region.”
The 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.
Eaton Place managing director Peter Scarf told The Urban Developer that the approval from the Queensland government represented a landmark moment for positive economic growth for the local region of Gladstone, the state of Queensland, and Australia.
“Pacificus is one of the most exciting and ambitious tourism ventures ever to be undertaken in Australia, defining a new standard for integrating tourism development with the natural environment,” Scarf said.
“There has been a significant influx of private investment, as well as state government commitments that will consolidate the Southern Great Barrier Reef as a major tourist destination with modern world-class accommodation and recreational facilities.”
Originally, concerns surrounding the development related to its potential to create competition with neighbouring tourist areas of Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy.
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.
“We’re working with the private sector to leverage infrastructure that will create hundreds of jobs in central Queensland” Jones said.
“We want people from across Australia and from overseas to come and see what central Queensland has to offer, and developments like this add to the variety of experiences available to tourists throughout the region.”
Construction is now expected to commence in 2020.