In another blow to the tourism industry in central Queensland, the state’s Minister of Resources said the developer set to take over the Great Keppel Island leases does not have the financial capacity to complete the proposed development.
- State government said independent financial assessment found Altum Property Group lacked the capacity to undertake development
- Altum says it is committed to the project and presented a new proposal for ecological tents
- Local business owner says Altum is the best candidate for development
The Sydney-based developer Tower Holdings leased the 160-acre resort off the coast of Capricorn for $ 16.5 million in 2006, but it closed during the global financial crisis two years later.
A $ 600 million development master plan that included golf courses, shops, a casino and a marina was approved in 2012, but issues were raised over casino licenses and the land was leased in 2018.
Sunshine Coast-based developers Altum Property Group signed a contract to take over the lease in 2019.
But Resources Minister Scott Stewart today released a statement dismissing the new developer based on the findings of an independent assessment of financial and managerial capabilities by Deloitte.
“This revealed that the company does not have, nor has it obtained, the financial capacity to carry out the proposed development,” he said.
“For this reason, the lease transfer to Altum will not take place.
“This government remains committed to seeing the development of Great Keppel Island, which is why we have already committed $ 30 million for the development of common user infrastructure on the island.
Developer does not give up
Altum chief executive Rob McCready said the developer is keen to continue the project and is committed to working with the Queensland government and Tower Holdings.
He said “high level meetings” would be held this week.
“Now the minister has concluded that we do not have the financial capacity to undertake the project, but let me clarify … basically what this means is that we do not have the $ 1.5 billion. dollars in our bank account to complete the entire project. “
Mr McCready said it was unusual to expect a developer to have all the money for a project of this scale before land transfers took place.
“They’re a little too focused on ‘How much money do you have in your bank account?’ versus “Do you have the capacity to see this succeed? ” “, did he declare.
A new glamping proposition
Mr McCready said the company had spent months negotiating with the Resource Department to plan the first stages of a “glamping tent hotel” at Fisherman’s Beach, where the resort’s old building was located.
“It will consist of 50 eco-friendly tents, a start of garbage cleaning on the island and passive surveillance to put an end to the vandalism and arson that has plagued the island in recent years,” he said. he declared.
The glamping tent hotel will provide the island with much-needed additional beds to cope with the regional tourism boom while the planning and design of the separation wall, barge ramp and ferry terminal are completed.
“Once we are ready to build the hotel, the glamping tent hotel will be relocated.”
Altum has filed a new lease transfer request, which he hoped would bring more certainty to the Queensland government over its financial capacity.
“The glamping offer requires direct local government approval,” said McCready.
A roller coaster ride
Accommodation operator Geoff Mercer has been on the island for over 40 years and has described the development as “a roller coaster ride”.
“I’m a little baffled at this point that when [Altum] can build a $ 200 million product in Noosa and complement that… as no development can be seen in sections, ”he said.
“No one is going to go through and build a development of this size all at once.
Mr Mercer questioned the government’s suggestion to “force Altum to enter into some sort of sublet”.
“I am surprised that the government is pushing this way to hold Tower ultimately responsible for something they have had in their hands since 2006,” he said.
The state government announced an additional $ 4.4 million for the island in last week’s budget.
Mercer said he would meet Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe during his visit to the island on Wednesday.
“I’m looking at Altum, they’re Australians, they’re young men, they have dots on the board – before that we had all kinds of messy stuff with people from overseas wanting to come in,” he said. he declares.
“My comments [to Mr Hinchliffe] Something’s going to happen and these people are the best contenders we’ve seen. ”