Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

LNP Plans Rec Reserve; Springborg Rules out Use of Great Keppel Lot 21 for Resort

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

LNP Plans Rec Reserve; Springborg Rules out Use of Great Keppel Lot 21 for Resort

Article excerpt

Byline: Sharyn O'Neill sharyn.oneill@capnews.com.au

GREAT Keppel Island's Lot 21 will forever be preserved for eco-tourism if Lawrence Springborg becomes premier.

He made the election promise yesterday on the island as he took a stroll along Fisherman's Beach.

The Leader of the Opposition unveiled plans that included converting the lease of Lot 21, which covers 60% of the island, from a recreation lease to a conservation park, to be known as the Great Keppel Island Recreation Reserve.

"The new reserve would preserve access to the island's beaches, dunes, historical sites, wildlife, sheltered bays, coral and fishing."

He said it could be used for a number of things, including camping, but said an airport, such as the one suggested by resort lessee Tower Holdings, did not fit in the plan.

"Anything there would have to be eco-friendly.

"A huge airport; we don't want that."

He said the current lease on Lot 21 expired in 12 months.

Mr Springborg said he would also look closely at the current lease of the now-closed resort, to ensure Tower Holdings was abiding by all the conditions.

"They have a legal obligation to do that.

"The LNP will be doing everything in its power to work with resort leaseholders to ensure the Great Keppel Island resort re-opens as soon as possible."

Mr Springborg said the current government had not been actively involved in assisting tourism in the region, and the resort closure had resulted in the loss of many jobs.

"Why didn't the government say, 'You are in breach of your lease, we are coming to get you'."

He estimated up to 500 jobs were lost, both on the island and on the mainland, when the resort closed.

Tower Holdings' plans for a new resort, which included two championship golf courses, low-rise resort facilities, a marina complex, community village, upgraded airport, boutique shopping, day spa facilities and a five-star international resort, were rejected by the State Government. …

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