Great Keppel Island.
Great Keppel Island.

How should $30 million be spent on GKI?

Livingstone Shire Council is seeking suggestions about how $30 million should be spent on Great Keppel Island, but there are discrepancies between its ideas compared with those of developer Altum Property Group.

The money in question is the State Government's, set aside for infrastructure on the island, and the council's role is understood to be mainly one of advocacy.
In January, Livingstone Shire Council gave a list of its preferred projects to the Department of Tourism "based on the assumption that future private investment on Great Keppel Island remained uncertain in both scope and timing".

Altum did not wish to reveal the funding sources with which it recently submitted, for the second time, a financial and managerial capability assessment, now under review, to persuade the State Government to grant it the GKI leases currently in the hands of Tower Holdings.

Nevertheless, at a meeting in early February, construction director Rob McCready said: "Our capital partners are Australians; it'll be Australian money that's developing it.

"With our Parkridge Noosa project, 90 per cent of that money was either us or ANZ, so Australian money.

"We had a finance partner called Thakral Capital Australia, whose parent company was in Singapore: they invested 10 per cent in our project."

According to public documents, Thakral Capital Australia in November last year incorporated a subsidiary, TCAP Aust Holdings, "for the purpose of holding 50 per cent of the commercial assets under the Group's Parkridge Noosa project in Queensland, Australia".

"The remaining 50 per cent of the said commercial assets will be held by a subsidiary of the developer of the project," the documents said.

In December, TCAP Aust Holdings and Altum created a joint commercial unit trust.

Livingstone Shire Council’s assumptions about infrastructure on GKI, written in January.
Livingstone Shire Council’s assumptions about infrastructure on GKI, written in January.

In the above-mentioned document sent to the tourism department, Livingstone Shire Council wrote that "a number of assumptions had been made to inform and develop the individual projects".

Those assumptions included that tourism development on the island would "not materially advance within the next three to five years" and that current Tower leases and Woppaburra land could be successfully "negotiated for easements for trails and other amenities".

The council's proposals included a redevelopment of the Fisherman's Beach visitor precinct and improving walking and driving tracks.

In response to Livingstone Shire Council's request for public opinion, the GKI Progress Association wrote it a letter requesting it advocate to the State Government the association's list of island infrastructure in order "not to compromise the viability of the revitalisation project".

"The Association would like to work with you to ensure that the Queensland Government funds committed to GKI are spent on the right pieces of infrastructure, to benefit all parties and get the best outcome for the island and the region," it said.

"The projects on the list that council has drafted will be completed at Altum's cost during the resort re-building project, but the transport infrastructure needs to be prioritised at the beginning of the project for it to go ahead."

Altum's plans for common user infrastructure on GKI.
Altum's plans for common user infrastructure on GKI.

The council recommended residents get in touch with councillors about the preferred use of taxpayer funds by March 1, and early this week, the progress association started an online petition to the same end for those in support of Altum's plans.

Livingstone Shire Council and Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga were contacted for clarification and comment, but did not respond in time for publication.