Great Keppel Island, off the coast of Rockhampton in Central Queensland.
Great Keppel Island, off the coast of Rockhampton in Central Queensland.

Plans for an AUD$2 billion tourism and residential development on Great Keppel Island, off the coast of Rockhampton, are proceeding following the lodgement of the Financial Management Capability Assessment by Altum Property Group.

The key step by the property development company, led by Alex Rigby and Rob McCready, comes as part of long-term plans for the island’s regeneration, which will roll out over the next 12 years and will see a workforce of 6,000 full time employed during the construction phase and 1,500 ongoing day-to-day operational job opportunities to come.

The lodgement comes 18 months after the Queensland government declared the island vacant and said it was open to new expressions of interest for the site, committing $25 million to ensure the island was connected to mainland power and water.

Once approved, the development will implement a ‘Buy Regional – Buy Queensland’ ideology to ensure all suppliers and contractors provide local resources and materials.

Rob McCready (centre) with Alex Rigby, Altum Property Group and Mary Carroll, Capricorn Enterprise.

McCready said his organisation was ready to move on the site now, with teams in place and able to commence work immediately while the world returns to normal.

“This Project will constitute the most significant new tourism investment in Queensland, and in a time when holidaying locally is needed, will provide Australian visitors with a genuine resort destination alternative to travelling overseas,” he said.

The first stage of the new Great Keppel Island will feature a 1,300-key holiday dwelling development including a beachfront hotel at Fisherman’s Beach. In addition, a low-storey complex featuring a variety of accommodation styles will also be constructed, along with a marina, retail village, day spa, research centre, Greg Norman-designed championship golf course and a 575-hectare Environmental Protection Area. The island will also see its airstrip upgraded to accommodate direct flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.

“We know that the multi-billion dollar spur into the region will be vital following the blow that our tourism partners are currently taking during the coronavirus pandemic, and will assist in rebuilding the economy of the region by adding a significant piece of diversified tourism infrastructure which will overall increase gross regional product into the future,” McCready added.

Capricorn Enterprise CEO, Mary Carroll, said that despite Altum Property Group dealing with its own Coronavirus concerns, the company’s plans to bring new life to Great Keppel Island should be prioritised as many locals can be given much-needed work.