Mayor Bill Ludwig on why LNP shouldn't give up on GKI
LIVINGSTONE mayor Bill Ludwig has called for bipartisan support for Great Keppel Island power and water infrastructure from Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and Senator Matt Canavan.
The calls followed Senator Matt Canavan's comments on Wednesday that questioned the viability of the project.
In months prior Federal Government had failed to match funding for critical infrastructure needed to help ensure a multimillion GKI revitalisation development from a potential investor, currently in acquisition process.
"Timely joint investment from both the State and Federal Governments in vital trunk infrastructure will ensure GKI is shovel ready for investment opportunities,” Cr Ludwig said.
"Our region desperately needs to have GKI back on the international tourism map as a major national and regional attraction.
"The community-funded business case undertaken by Our Keppel Our Future previously confirmed the already approved $600 million GKI revitalisation project will deliver 1500 full time jobs right here on our doorstep.”
Cr Ludwig said that the LNP showed great passion in the project's early days but the support from local representatives has since lapsed.
"I was proud to stand beside Senator Canavan, Michelle Landry and Brittany Lauga on GKI just three years ago wearing t-shirts to support that community-led campaign to get the GKI revitalisation project started,” he said.
"It is difficult to now understand why our two federal representatives, who live here on the Capricorn Coast, and the Morrison Government, are steadfastly refusing to make a crucial election commitment.
"GKI is without question one of the most critically important projects for the tourism future of our entire region. The island has been a recognised national icon and international flagship for tourism.
"The State Government has recognised the importance of backing GKI, committing almost $32 million and the Federal opposition has committed $25 million.
"Bipartisan support now will ensure, regardless of whoever forms government in May, that existing GKI businesses will have a competitive edge operationally, and GKI is infrastructure 'shovel ready' to attract the massive enabling investment needed to realise our region's full tourism potential.
"In relation to power, connection to the mainland grid will allow access to an appropriate mix of energy sources including mainland-based solar farms, limiting the need for major vegetation clearing on the island itself.
"Mainland reticulated water will also protect the island's fragile natural water aquifers which will be a win win for both tourist operators, residents and the island's environment.”
Senator Matt Canavan said yesterday that he would stand by his comments made earlier this week that a convincing business plan would be required before he would consider moving forward with the infrastructure project.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry shared Senator Canavan's anticipation for a costed business plan.
"Island resorts, especially those like the one proposed and approved - but not yet funded - for GKI require a great deal of private capital in order to be realised,” she said.
"The barrier to the island's development lies not with the availability of mains power but in the availability of capital investment; this is a project that requires hundreds of millions of dollars invested to get off the ground, extension lead or not.
"I have a close, loving relationship with GKI but that doesn't mean I am about to throw good money after bad.
"We know that the ALP's commitments to date have not been properly costed, which raises the very real likelihood that their commitments will not cover the cost of delivering water and power supplies, sewage system, ablutions block, and jetty facilities.
"Until Livingstone Council or the State Government can provide me with a costed plan for these works they are shadow-boxing with the economic future of the Capricorn Coast.
"I am all ears when it comes to infrastructure funding and I await with baited breath to see a fully-costed plan for the works.”