An artist's impression of the new look Lindeman Island, due to be finished by 2022.
An artist's impression of the new look Lindeman Island, due to be finished by 2022.

Lindeman Island mega-project in jeopardy

THE future of the $583 million redevelopment of Lindeman Island is at risk as the project languishes in bureaucratic limbo, a Queensland minister has said.

Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said the project's Environmental Impact Statement and State Government approval has been sitting in Canberra since March "gathering dust".

"Queensland's independent Coordinator-General wrote to the Federal Minister in March approving White Horse Australia's Environment Impact Statement and under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 he must make a decision within six weeks," he said.

"It has now been 21 weeks and still no approval from the Federal Minister."

"The proponent is ready, they are actively working on the implementation steps, including finding an operating partner and seeking funding.

"However, the absence of Commonwealth approval is slowing things down and any further delays create a real risk to obtaining financing and moving into construction."

Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan said he has raised the issue with Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg's office.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the project is expected to generate $100 million annually, create an average of 300 direct full-time equivalent jobs on the island and up to 460 full-time equivalent direct and indirect ongoing jobs in the Mackay region.

"With more than 200 people arriving by ferry each day and two flights a day from Shute Harbour the benefits of the resort will extend to local operators in nearby Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour," she said.

The Coordinator-General's report imposed strict conditions on the project including reducing the amount of land the proponent was able to clear.

It also revealed the project would generate a net benefit to the Great Barrier Reef in line with the Australian Government's Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.

An International operator search for Lindeman Island's redevelopment into an integrated luxury 6-star and 5-star Beach and eco-Resort began in June.

Minister Frydenberg and the Federal Department of Environment did not respond to request for comment by deadline. Developers White Horse Australia Pty Ltd did not respond to request for comment.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy said the negotiations between the current lessee of Keswick Island and a prospective buyer is ongoing.

"DNRME is currently waiting on further information from the prospective buyer which will inform the detailed assessment process. This very thorough process usually takes several months to complete," they said.

Keswick Island was put on the market for $30 million in 2016 and was recently snapped up by Sydney-based Chinese investors. It is understood the conditions of the new lease will depend on what activities the prospective buyers propose to undertake on Keswick Island.



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