The proposed development on Hummock Island.
The proposed development on Hummock Island. Contributed

MP urged to back development

GAPDL chief executive Glenn Churchill has called on the Federal Government to reconsider its opposition to the Hummock Hill Island Development.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced last Thursday his proposed decision to refuse a residential and tourist development on the island. He said the location was one of a small number of undeveloped islands in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and required protection from development.

Mr Churchill today said GAPDL had submitted a second submission to the minister, voicing support for the project. He said benefits brought to the region by the project were endless.

“The Hummock Hill Island Development Project will provide a new tourism product offering a plethora of benefits including a great economic boost, investment attraction, skills attraction, growth management and capacity building for the Gladstone Region,” Mr Churchill said.

“The June-July Project Status Report substantiates in excess of $72 Billion dollars worth of project committal within the Gladstone Region alone, making it a prime development hub for business industry and tourism.”

“The Hummock Hill Island Development will further enhance the liveability of the Region with a niche resort market that significantly contributes to the Regional socio economic profile whilst adding to the Region and State’s assets and attractions.”

GAPDL Senior Project Officer, Kim Williams said the Hummock Hill Island Development has been favorably considered by the Gladstone Regional Council and the Queensland Government.

“The Gladstone Region is recognised as a strategic and logical choice for tourism, industrial, commercial, retail and residential investment due to an excellent harbour, availability of services, transport corridors and raw materials,” she said.

Mr Churchill wants Mr Burke to meet with a delegation of developers and key stakeholders to discuss the benefits of the project. “It would also be important to know what position the Federal Minister Hon Martin Ferguson, Energy Resources and Tourism has on this proposed exciting development,” he said.

In announcing his proposed decision to refuse the project, Mr Burke said public comment would be sought before his final decision is made. "In making the proposed decision I have determined that the potential significant impacts on matters of national significance protected under national environmental laws and the potential significant impacts on ecological communities would be unacceptable,” he said.

"As required under national environment law, I have considered the social and economic impacts of this project.”

"In making my proposed decision, I considered that the likely economic and social benefits would not outweigh the serious environmental impacts.”

"However, I understand that this proposal is of interest to the community and that's why I am making my proposed refusal available for further public comment."

Hummock Hill development director John Kelly said last week he was surprised the Federal Government had raised the possibility of stopping the project.

“We've worked hard to balance the important environmental features of Hummock Hill and the need for housing and tourism to support the region's growth and we believe we had the balance right,” he said.

The proposed development would become a tourism destination covering 16% of the area of the mainland island while ensuring the remaining 84% is permanently protected, maintained, and managed as a conservation reserve.

The community has until July 20 to comment on the proposed refusal.

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