Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has released concept plans for a massive AUD$3 billion redevelopment of the Palmer Coolum Resort on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, including the addition of a casino, 5000-seat convention centre, new international airport, water park and 1000-room beachfront hotel.
Palmer said the development, which would require approval from the Queensland state government, would generate 9,000 jobs for the Sunshine Coast and “elevate the region to be one of the world’s top tourism destinations”.
“This will boost the resort’s workforce to more than 2500 staff when operating,” Palmer said.
“The new airport will be capable of taking A380s and 747 Jumbo jets from Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo directly to the Sunshine Coast.
“We estimate this project and its flow on effects could generate more than 9,000 jobs for the Sunshine Coast region during construction.
“Hawaii and other Pacific nations have taken all the real tourism growth out of the Australian and Queensland economies.
“We have not been able to compete with the beachfront development at Waikiki in Hawaii or with Fiji and other destinations because of restrictions.
“As a consequence of this, Queensland jobs and families have suffered as have our children’s future and the state’s revenue. It’s time we made a change and reclaimed the state’s mantle as Australia’s and the world’s premium tourist destination.”
Professor Palmer said the project, when completed, would “help make the Sunshine Coast one of the most popular tourism regions in the world”.
“I believe there is a strong willingness from people on the Sunshine Coast for a major job creating project like this to happen,” he said.
“There haven’t been any major tourism developments in Queensland since the 1970s and 1980s and we are looking to raise the bar again with this project.”
Palmer said a key to the Coolum project’s success would be the proposed “expansion of the nearby Sunshine Coast Airport to allow for more flights from Asia”.
“This will significantly boost the region’s capacity to accommodate both domestic and international visitors and it will create enormous interest in a country such as China and its growing tourism market,” he said.
“The Sunshine Coast is a magnificent region and the gateway to Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef. We want to make it one of the great tourism destinations on the planet.”
Palmer plans said the revamped airport would be linked to the resort with a new monorail system, while a hovercraft would connect guests to Brisbane.
“We also plan to operate an ocean-going hovercraft service with capacity for up to 400 people from the Brisbane CBD to Coolum,” he said.
“This will enable people to get to the resort from Brisbane quickly. They can stay at the resort or they can just come up on the night and enjoy an amazing dining experience before going back to Brisbane.”
Palmer said the new beachfront hotels will offer 1000 rooms and will include a rooftop entertainment area with ocean views.
He said the other proposals were for a high rollers casino, an aquarium offering an “unforgettable experience”, an aviary to accommodate multiple species of native Australian birds in a sustainable environment, a beachside water park and a theme park.
“The theme park has been designated for an 80 acre area and our options include family oriented attractions,” he said.
“We also plan to build a convention centre which can host 5,000 people and have underground parking for up to 3,000 cars.”
Professor Palmer said the redevelopment plans featured a significant boost to the retail and dining offerings currently available at the Palmer Coolum Resort.
“We want people at Noosa to come here to shop and eat,” he said. “The new resort will boast international retail brands and a wide spectrum of food and entertainment experiences.”
Palmer said the development proposals would be put to the Sunshine Coast community for consideration.
“We will spend the next six months seeing if the community wants the Sunshine Coast to lead the world,” he said. “The construction phase would [then] take approximately three years.”
The plans from Palmer come just months after he announced his intention to build a full replica of the Titanic.