Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Keppel Will Bring $158M into Region: Tower Chief; {lsquo}It's What CQ Tourism Needs'

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Keppel Will Bring $158M into Region: Tower Chief; {lsquo}It's What CQ Tourism Needs'

Article excerpt

Byline: Trish Bowman trish.bowman@capnews.com.au

TOWER Holdings chief executive Terry Agnew yesterday flew into Rockhampton to dispel claims his plans for Great Keppel Island would destroy the natural environment of the tropical paradise.

Mr Agnew said Tower would work in with the island's traditional owners, the Woppaburra people, to manage and regenerate the natural habitat.

He said the proposed development would provide an economic benefit estimated at $158 million a year to the local economy and also provide a long overdue push to improve the tourism performance of the region.

And in a major coup, he said, Tower Holdings had enlisted the assistance of champion golfer Greg Norman to design two championship standard golf courses, which would enhance the area's international appeal.

"We will be developing a world-class tourism resort while only using 17% of our lease and ensuring that we construct low-impact two to three-storey buildings," said Mr Agnew, whose company has come under fire from some local politicians for the way it has managed the island.

"In 1866 the Ross Brothers brought 4000 sheep to the island, completely cleared the area and it was used for agricultural purposes for the following 140 years leaving behind significant vegetation disturbance," he said.

"We plan to revegetate this area to bring it back to its once pristine status while developing a world class resort to boost the Central Queensland economy."

He said research showed for the past 25 years Central Queensland tourism had lagged behind other areas of the state.

Mr Agnew pointed to recent Queensland Tourism statistics which show only 1.3% of international visitors to Queensland visit the Capricorn region, only 1% of international visitor expenditure in Queensland is spent in the Capricorn region and the region accounts for 3.9% of Queensland's tourism GDP. …

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