Minister fast tracks decision on $1.2b Hummock resort
THE state government will make a final decision regarding the proposed resort development on Hummock Hill Island in a matter of months - instead of years.
Minister for State Development Cameron Dick has approved the State's co-ordinator general to re-assess the $1.2 billion proposal after the council rejected Eaton Place Pty Ltd's development application for the Pacificus Tourism Project.
"What happens now is we take it out of the Planning and Environment Court where it could be for years," Mr Dick said.
"We have a single decision maker in the co-ordinator general who will look at all aspects of this proposal and will make a decision within a matter of months."
We think this project is of such significance that it should have the decision resolved as quickly as possible.
Mr Dick said he had spoken to mayor Matt Burnett about the decision.
"He (Matt) was comfortable with the decision the state was making," he said. "He respects the role of the state to make these decisions and I respect the role of councils to make these decisions as well.
"But when it comes to big projects worth billions of dollars that are more than just regional in their importance and of significance to Queensland, that's when I need to consider exercising my powers."
Deputy mayor Chris Trevor said it was a fear of repeating past mistakes that held many councillors back.
"During the last boom we were forced to borrow money to prop up infrastructure," he said.
"The state and federal governments didn't step up when we needed help and we're still paying for it.
"We need the co-ordinator general to talk to us, the people on the ground who can guide him on his assessment regarding planning, environment and infrastructure."
Managing director of Eaton Place, Peter Scarf, welcomed the announcement.
"The Pacificus Tourism Project has already been granted all necessary commonwealth and state environmental approvals via public EIS processes," he said.
"We are committed to working with the state and local stakeholders including Gladstone Regional Council."
Mr Dick said the developers had been pushing for the development for at least a decade.
"They are very committed to it as demonstrated by their appeal in the planning and environment court," he said.
"The council has to contest its decision, which would be an expensive process as it could take years for the court to decide.
"Today's decision means ratepayers won't have to spend more money defending council's decision in court.
"The co-ordinator general will be the final decision- maker, there will be no more appeals after this."
He added that the local community also needed certainty.
"This project means jobs for the region.
"It's a positive step forward, what it does is give a certain horizon for a final decision to support jobs and tourism for this important part of Queensland.
"The community needs certainty, the local economy needs certainty and the proponent needs certainty... we're talking about a matter of months to resolve this ... once and for all and it should be resolved by the end of the year."