Altum speaks out as clock ticks on GKI resort project
WHILE the State Government and Altum Property Group continue to banter over funds for Stage One of the Great Keppel Island resort redevelopment, ahead of the sale contract timeline ending on October 30, other movements for funds are going on in the background.
Another looming deadline for the project is Altum getting confirmation of support from the Labor Party at state level, along with the two groups agreeing on how the current promise of $25 million will be spent, before the State Government enters caretaker mode ahead of the election.
Meanwhile, Capricorn Enterprise chief executive Mary Carroll has revealed to The Morning Bulletin there was work going on behind the scenes to get the Federal Government to commit $52m for the airstrip on GKI as part of the project.
She said developer Altum Property Group, which had been strongly backed by Capricorn Coast businesses and the One Nation Party, needed $47.5 million for Stage One to get going.
This figure which would cover the breakwall, dredging and barge ramp, along with a jetty.
Ms Carroll said these items made up the two biggest components of the shared infrastructure to be built as part of the $1.5 billion development of which $500m was needed for common use infrastructure alone.
Altum’s Leigh McCready told The Morning Bulletin yesterday that after the State Government announced $25M for GKI infrastructure on August 18, Altum costed the Stage One projects which added up to $47.5m, which was passed on to Tourism Minister Kate Jones and other government parties involved.
Ms McCready said Altum felt it should project manage the common use infrastructure side of the project for two reasons – the company would know what parts would be driven over for the redevelopment of the resort and could therefore delay doing nature walks and other parts that would only be destroyed by construction machines, plus, there would be a cost saving of 20 per cent compared to a government contract.
Ms McCready said they had been trying to get confirmation from the State Government for five months.
“If we had received the confirmation we asked for back in April we could have been building on the island already,” Ms McCready said.
Yesterday, she said the next step was with the State Government – to confirm the nature and level of its financial support for the project.
“Until this step is completed satisfactorily, our hands are tied and we cannot progress either the lease transfer or the sale process,” Ms McCready said.
“This point has been made repeatedly to the Queensland Government.”
Ms McCready said Altum had been in contact with Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and One Nation Party leader Senator Pauline Hanson about a funding commitment for the airstrip.
Ms Carroll said not only would the GKI redevelopment project create 1500 jobs, particularly need in the COVID-19 recovery, but inject millions of dollars into the Central Queensland economy each year.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said her office had made representations on Altum Construction’s behalf to federal departments and their respective cabinet ministers to ascertain applicable federal funding that could assist the construction of the GKI Rejuvenation Project, including the airport.
“I have facilitated briefing with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Keith Pitt and the office of Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham for Altum Constructions and I sincerely appreciate Rob and Leigh’s cooperation in our positive and constructive conversations,” Ms Landry said.
“The Great Keppel Island Rejuvenation project has considerable merit and I am confident it can assist the local area in it’s economic recovery coming out of the pandemic.
“I am doing everything within my power to see the Capricorn Coast come out stronger than ever out of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Tourism Minister Kate Jones has responded to Altum’s predicament on GKI saying it needed to balance competing interests.
“We’re working around the clock with the proponent to support them to deliver what they’ve proposed,” Ms Jones said.
“We have to protect taxpayers and ensure through a due diligence process that any proponent has the ability to invest.
“We are the only side of politics that has committed $30 million for new infrastructure on Great Keppel Island. We’re getting on with the job.
“As you’re aware, Altum have now requested at least $47 million in taxpayer funding to help them to secure the extra $150 million they need to build their resort.”