CASINO CONFIDENCE: Tower Holdings CEO Terry Agnew says a licence is the only thing between him and a GKI casino.
CASINO CONFIDENCE: Tower Holdings CEO Terry Agnew says a licence is the only thing between him and a GKI casino. Megan Lewis

GKI developer's casino dream alive as critical deadline looms

TOWER Holdings refuses to give up on its $600 million Great Keppel Island project even as the September deadline for development approvals attached to the lease approach.

It's been 10 years since Tower began its Great Keppel Island journey but it's been forced to wait for another change of government to advance their 1500-job redevelopment of Great Keppel Island Resort.

Yesterday Tower Holdings CEO Terry Agnew said they were shovel ready and raring to go - they just need a casino licence to seal the deal with investors.

"In the past two weeks I have spent five days in Hong Kong by invitation, talking with investors solely about GKI," Mr Agnew said.

"This is really simple, we are ready to move forward, we just need the State Government to come to the party."

 

Member for Rockhampton Brittany Lauga with people protesting in support of a casino licence for the GKI development at the community Cabinet held at the North Rockhampton High School on Sunday.   Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Member for Rockhampton Brittany Lauga with people protesting in support of a casino licence for the GKI development at the community Cabinet held at the North Rockhampton High School on Sunday. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison ROK240515cgki8

Mr Agnew said the entire fiasco could be avoided if the State Government were to honour election promises by Brittany Lauga to support the Great Keppel Island redevelopment's request for an integrated resort development licence application.

Under an LNP government, two integrated resort development licenses will be issued for the state with one of these licenses earmarked for Central and North Queensland.

"We are shovel ready and could begin construction within 12 months if we are granted the integrated resort development licence," Mr Agnew said.

"It has now been 10 years and we are still here, most developers would have given up, we haven't because we want this development to go ahead."

THE GREAT GKI DEVELOPMENT DEBATE:

June 2017 | Health hazard: Run down GKI resort on notice

March 2017 | Lauga and Canavan go head to head over GKI funding

January 2017 | Premier discusses GKI development at Rocky community forum

November 2016 | GKI casino still long odds despite hunt for new casinos

September 2016 | Keppel MP says One Nation could stall GKI project

August 2016 | Lauga says residents 'don't care about casino on GKI

August 2016 | Agnew says 'serious discussions' underway with investors

Mr Agnew pointed out that previous integrated resort development licenses handed out had not been utilised and had now been handed back to the state while the Great Keppel Island application had been knocked back in spite of being shovel ready.

Meanwhile, word on Tower's application to extend the approvals attached to the GKI lease are still pending.

 

Our Keppel Our Future group were supporting the announcement made by Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and Senator Matt Canavan to give $220,000 in funding towards building a retaining wall on Great Keppel Island's Putney Beach, if the Turnbull Government is re-elected. 
Photo Amy Haydock / The Morning Bulletin
Our Keppel Our Future group were supporting the announcement made by Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and Senator Matt Canavan to give $220,000 in funding towards building a retaining wall on Great Keppel Island's Putney Beach, if the Turnbull Government is re-elected. Photo Amy Haydock / The Morning Bulletin Amy Haydock ROK

There are concerns the future of the entire project could be sent into a tailspin should they not be extended and LNP candidate for Keppel Peter Blundell along with Capricornia MP Michelle Landry are both calling for immediate action.

Ms Landry said she is highly concerned that the development will be sent back to the drawing board.

"I have written to the Queensland Minister for State Development requesting the lease be extended, let's hope Labor doesn't allow GKI to remain a fleeting memory of glory days," Ms Landry said.

 

Peter Blundell has been announced as the new LNP candidate for Keppel
Peter Blundell has been announced as the new LNP candidate for Keppel Trish Bowman

Mr Blundell has warned that inaction on the Great Keppel Island redevelopment project was placing over a billion dollars in local investment and over 1500 local jobs at risk.

"The reality is that the current leaseholders own the development plans and all approvals, including the Environmental Impact Study," Mr Blundell said yesterday.

"If the timeframe attached to approvals is not extended, the entire redevelopment will go back to square one.

"Given the delays, compliance costs and refusal to approve an Integrated Resort Development, it will be extremely unlikely that any new investors will take on that risk."

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said the LNP was talking down business confidence and the local economy with "entirely fictitious claims" about Tower Holdings' leases on Great Keppel Island.

"The Minister has advised me that his Department of Natural Resources and Mines considers lease extensions independently, and that DNRM has made no call on Tower Holdings' leases, which are current until the end of September," Ms Lauga said.

"As a Johnny-come-lately in the electorate, it's understandable that Mr Blundell is not across what's happening."



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