$1.2b Hummock Hill Island project approved

Queensland’s independent coordinator-general has approved a $1.2 billion tourism project on Hummock Hill Island, subject to strict conditions.

Cameron Dick, minister for state development, manufacturing, infrastructure and planning, said the decision provides certainty for the job-creating project and stands as a huge vote of confidence in Gladstone.

“We have stepped in, listened and acted for jobs and economic prosperity in the Gladstone region,” Dick said.

“This $1.2 billion project will support 190 construction jobs per year over 17 years and will deliver a tourism boom for the Gladstone region, supporting up to 700 ongoing operational jobs.

”Tourism is one of the main drivers of job creation in regional Queensland, and a project of this scale is too important to languish in the Planning and Environment Court for years.

“By using his legislative step-in powers, the coordinator-general has ensured the project can go ahead – delivering certainty to both the proponent, Eaton Place, and locals who want to see this development bring more tourists to the region.”

The proposal will deliver an integrated, master-planned resort on Hummock Hill Island in Rodds Bay, 30km south-east of Gladstone.

“Plans include tourist accommodation, holiday units and camping grounds for about 2,700 people, and potential permanent housing up to a maximum of 30 per cent,” Dick said.

“There will be commercial and retail outlets, a range of community and recreation facilities including a boat ramp, cultural centre and an 18-hole golf course, and a bridge to the mainland.”

According to tourism industry development minister Kate Jones, the proposed development would be an important part of the Southern Great Barrier Reef tourism pitch, which focuses on future opportunities for central Queensland.

“Tourism is vital for Gladstone’s economy and this project will be a game-changer for the local industry,” Jones said.

“We’re working with the private sector to leverage infrastructure that will create hundreds of jobs in central Queensland.

“We know the next generation of tourists are looking for unique experiences. That’s exactly what Hummock Hill will provide – a one-off experience visitors can’t get anywhere else.

“The Palaszczuk government is investing more in this industry that any government in Queensland’s history because we’re committed to creating new tourism jobs in key destinations like Gladstone.

“We want people from across Australia and from overseas to come and see what central Queensland has to offer, and developments like this add to the variety of experiences available to tourists throughout the region.”

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the proponent has given a strong commitment they would start construction with early works in 2020.

“This is a great outcome for the people of Gladstone – one which secures long-term jobs more tourism dollars,” Butcher said.

“We’re excited to maximise the potential of Hummock Hill Island, and to showcase our beautiful region to the rest of the world.”

The coordinator-general stepped in following Gladstone Regional Council’s decision to refuse the development application in May this year and an application, by Eaton Place, to review the decision in the Planning and Environment Court.

His assessment concluded there are significant economic and social benefits, with robust environmental protections, that justify the project’s approval.

This announcement follows the Palaszczuk government’s June decision to reconsider an earlier Gladstone Regional Council rejection of the proposal.

Dick thanks the Gladstone Regional Council for its constructive approach to the coordinator-general’s considerations.

“Gladstone Regional Council made a submission, making 26 recommendations to the coordinator-general, 23 of which have been incorporated into the conditions of approval,” Dick continued.

“In total, 45 conditions have been applied to the approval, including the developer providing adequate provision of infrastructure to service the development of this size, and commencing construction in 2020.”

The proponent will provide all the infrastructure needed to service the development, at no cost to the state or ratepayer.

In relation to step-ins, the coordinator-general approval – and associated conditions – is final.