The Federal Government has approved the $950 million Pacificus Tourism Project at Gladstone, setting the scene for a major boost in jobs and business opportunities in Queensland’s Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Pacificus is located 30 kilometres south of Gladstone on a island that adjoins the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
It is separated from the mainland by a narrow, shallow causeway where, for generations, cattle were driven across for grazing.
Pacificus will become the first world-class international tourism destination in Queensland’s Southern Great Barrier Reef Region.
Pacificus Project Manager, John Kelly, said: “We now look forward to working with the Queensland Government and the Gladstone Regional Council, through local planning mechanisms, to deliver a project that will be of great social, environmental, and economic benefit for the Gladstone Region and Australia. And one all Australians can be proud of.”
Pacificus will offer a wide range of accommodation options appealing to all market sectors; ranging from luxury 5 star beachfront hotels, holiday villas and luxury residences, a motel, a caravan park and camping ground, and a health spa retreat.
“The Pacificus integrated tourist community has been designed and assessed by Australia’s leading environmental, heritage and engineering specialists and architects to ensure the development will deliver net benefits to the local environmental and cultural values,” Mr Kelly said.
The Project’s environmental protection initiatives have been tailored to protect and enhance the Outstanding Universal Values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
“It will also be the first totally new major integrated resort created on the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef Coast in nearly 30 years,” said Kelly.
Ninety percent of the Island will be rehabilitated and declared a permanent conservation area after more than one hundred years of use for cattle grazing and timber harvesting.
“The large-scale rehabilitation and conservation process is proposed to include a ranger program with the Island’s Traditional Owners providing permanent, indigenous employment opportunities to protect the Island’s natural environment,” said Kelly.
Pacificus has received long-standing support from the Queensland Government and the Gladstone community and will be a model of environmental innovation and creativity, showcasing an entirely Australian designed blueprint for one of the world’s most ecological sustainable tourism based communities.
“The sustainable design philosophy is based upon taking the responsibility for our own ecological footprint," Mr Kelly said.
"This necessitates best practice commitment to self-reliant energy regeneration, water harvesting, waste minimisation and protection of environmental and cultural values.”
It is estimated that Pacificus will inject over $95 million per annum of tourism expenditure into the local region at the project’s completion.
There will be a strong demand for local employment during construction with over 3200 new jobs created during the 15-year development period.
It is estimate that at least 700 full time positions will be created when the project is completed, with a further 850 flow-on jobs in the region.