This week's announcement of the signing of contracts for the sale of the already approved GKI revitalisation project and associated leases to the Singapore-based Wei Chao company is certainly very positive news our region and the Queensland tourism industry has been waiting for.
While the sale is still subject to appropriate due diligence on the part of the State Government in relation to the transfer of the leases that cover 970.9ha of land involved, an in principle 'thumbs up' has been given by all parties involved.
Isabella and CK Wei, who head the family-owned development company, are keen to get the project moving as quickly as possible and have made a whole-hearted commitment to ensuring that the major share of construction contracts and job opportunities for the proposed $800-million development go to local contractors and suppliers.
A key element of the successful negotiations to secure this level of private sector investment has been the State Government's commitment to support Livingstone Shire Council's call for the State and Federal governments to assist in the provision of necessary trunk infrastructure to connect power, water and high-speed internet to the island.
In November last year, following joint representations from Council and State Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga, Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones came on-board with a $25-million commitment.
Early this year, Council then lodged a funding submission with the Federal Government under their Regional Growth Fund in an effort to secure a matching $25-million Federal commitment to ensure the best possible long-term result can be achieved.
The business case for a joint State and Federal infrastructure investment is compelling.
The returns will be immediate with up to $800million in private sector investment, 200 construction jobs and an estimated 500 plus on-going jobs once the resort, marina, and airport components are constructed and fully operational.
The region has waited more than 10 years to get to this point.
All we really need now is for all our State and Federal representatives to join forces and work together for funding support to help make it a reality on GKI.