Saturday, April 1, 2023

Gina Rinehart backs out on plans to redevelop Woppa-Great Keppel Island resort site

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has abandoned its plan to redevelop Woppa-Great Keppel Island, a traditional owner has confirmed.

The company first announced it would acquire a lease for the once-iconic resort off the central Queensland coast in October.

The Southern Great Barrier Reef Island Resort closed in 2008 and has since fallen through several development applications from various companies.

Bob Muir, the traditional owner and director of Woppaburra Saltwater Aboriginal Corporation, said he received a letter from the company saying it intended to abandon the development.

“This just tells us that Hancock Prospecting, GKI Investments Pty Ltd, took a good look at the potential development and decided based on the outcome that unfortunately it cannot proceed with the project,” he said.

“We don’t know why, what are the reasons, but obviously there are real reasons for this to happen.”

ABC has contacted Hancock Prospecting for comment.

Silence on Woppa-Great Keppel Island redevelopment

Hancock Prospecting said last year the development would include “world-class, year-round beach clubs, sandy bars and shopping”.

Uncle Bob said, “There was a little silence for a while.”

“When [the letter] When I came, I was a little surprised.”

Close Up Shot Of An Indigenous Man Standing On The Beach Looking At The Sea
Woppaburra Elder Bob Muir said the update came as a surprise.,ABC Macaronia: Erin Semler,

The Voppabura elder said that this news is also a matter of relief.

“It’s a little sad,” he said.

“But the business of doing a deal with a big company like that, even if it goes ahead, it’s something where Woppaburra still has to try and negotiate and maybe try to fight for something and everything and Get input or say in what is happening. On our country.”

Ever since the closure of the iconic resort, there have been numerous false starts from companies trying to bring it back to life.

A master plan proposed by Tower Holdings was approved in 2012 to promote a major development featuring a casino, marina, housing, shops and a golf course.

The plan never materialized following concerns from the state government over casino licenses and expiration.

Part of the old resort was demolished in 2018, before more companies unsuccessfully tried to buy the lease.

Tourism, education opportunities in redevelopment plans

Uncle Bob said that development on the island was a “double-edged sword”.

The Woppaburra people were formally recognized as the original title holders of the famous Holiday Isle in December.

Every time a development application popped up, Uncle Bob said it was an opportunity to highlight indigenous culture and tourism.

“This is just another example of how some of these things, when they are proposed, can be very confusing,” he said.

,[It] really builds the hopes of the community and does it in a way that divides the communities as well.”

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