Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

SOS to Landry on Fixing GKI Efforts; State and Local Pollies Call on Capricornia MP to Help Revitalise GKI

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

SOS to Landry on Fixing GKI Efforts; State and Local Pollies Call on Capricornia MP to Help Revitalise GKI

Article excerpt

Byline: Leighton Smith

WITH revitalisation work begun on Great Keppel Island, local and state governments have appealed to Capricornia MP Michelle Landry to back the project with federal funds.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga, Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones and Livingstone Shire Mayor Bill Ludwig regarded the support of the Federal Government as critical to efforts to boost the island's infrastructure, restoring it to its former glory.

Ms Jones said she had applied for $25 million in federal funding for Great Keppel Island through the Regional Growth Fund to help connect power and water to the island.

"We're doing the heavy lifting when it comes to connecting power and water on Great Keppel Island but the fact of the matter is we can't do everything on our own," she said.

"(Ms Landry) has been vocal about how important the island is in boosting tourism to the Capricorn Coast.

"But she's done nothing to help or promote Great Keppel.

"It's high time she showed some leadership and put her money where her mouth is."

Ms Jones said if Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington really cared about Queenslanders she would lobby her mates in Canberra to do the same.

Ms Palaszczuk said the government had delivered on its $25m election commitment with work on the revitalisation of GKI begun.

"I would really like to see the Federal Government match that money," she said.

""I think there's a great opportunity there when it comes to tourism and infrastructure for GKI.

"It's about time that we saw a bit more co-operation with the Federal Government.

"Let's have a working partnership. I honestly believe that governments work the best when they work together."

Mrs Lauga said her government was committed to ensuring Great Keppel Island realises its potential as a tourism gem and had already started to deliver infrastructure by way of signing a memorandum of understanding with Livingstone Shire Council.

"We're already working on a feasibility and scoping study in order to deliver that infrastructure but it would be absolutely incredible to have the Federal Government match the $25 million that the State Labor government has committed," she said.

"We have a $5 billion Northern Infrastructure Fund that seems to be just sitting there dormant. Imagine if just a small chunk of that was allocated to GKI."

Mrs Lauga recognised that NAIF was a concessional loan scheme, but said the Coalition government should take its cues from federal Labor which had committed $1 billion of that money to tourism infrastructure.

"Imagine what $50 million could do in terms of revitalising the island, delivering the infrastructure, improving amenities, improving access and growing jobs in tourism," she said. …

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