Monday, May 20, 2024

Blueprint released for Great Keppel Island revival

The Queensland Government has unveiled a blueprint to revive Great Keppel Island (Woppa) as a world-class tourism destination.

Led by the community and key stakeholders, the Government says the final concept master plan has a strong focus on unlocking the iconic island’s full tourism potential, generating jobs, and celebrating the island’s rich history, cultural heritage, and natural environment.

“Today marks an exciting new chapter for Great Keppel Island (Woppa), and the Miles Government’s commitment to bringing this unique natural treasure back to life,” said Minister for Tourism, Michael Healy.

“We have worked closely with the community to create a long-term vision for the island’s future as one of Australia’s leading tourism destinations.

“Protecting the island’s history, cultural values and unique characteristics through sustainable and eco-friendly development is at the heart of this plan.

“It ensures the island will maintain a strong connection to the history of the land and its Traditional Owners, the Woppaburra People,” he said.

The Great Keppel Island (Woppa) Concept Master Plan outlines the key infrastructure needed to make the island safer and more accessible and to support tourism development – benefiting visitors, businesses, and the community.

The plan includes:

  • Sustainable tourism development to attract domestic and international visitors, including new eco resorts and precincts and a village centre
  • Better access around the island, with new boardwalks, walking trails and wayfinding signs
  • An enhanced arrival gateway, with options to improve maritime access being investigated
  • Cultural, educational and nature-based experiences to encourage longer stays on the island
  • Infrastructure upgrades, including a new wastewater treatment plant

“Our $30 million investment provides a significant boost towards implementing the Concept Master Plan and delivering the priority actions, such as a new wastewater treatment plant and improving maritime access,” said Minister Healy.

“We want to see the jewel of the Capricorn Coast restored to its former glory so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Livingstone Shire Council is set to deliver the first piece of work, with $10.1 million provided by the State Government to build a new wastewater treatment plant and amenities blocks.

The Government is also funding $500,000 for technical studies including options to improve maritime access, working with key partners to progress plans for a new $5 million gateway precinct for visitors, $5.5 million for new and upgraded boardwalks, walkways and signage, and $150,000 for a Woppaburra Land Trust feasibility study for a cultural centre.

A range of local stakeholders, including residents, business owners and operators on or servicing the island, Traditional Owners, Capricorn Enterprise, and Livingstone Shire Council, were part of the concept master planning process, which was led by a community Project Reference Group to ensure a shared, community-driven vision.

“Livingstone Shire Council would like to congratulate the Queensland Government and the Livingstone community on the release of the Great Keppel Island (Woppa) Concept Master Plan,” said Livingstone Shire Council Mayor, Adam Belot.

“Council is very supportive of the plan, and we reinforce our strong support for enhancing the accessibility of the island for the community, tourists, and tourism operators alike through the construction of further infrastructure, such as a jetty or on-island barge ramp.

“The concept master plan identifies a number of immediate priorities that must be undertaken to secure the viability of existing operators and underpin future growth, including replacing the existing wastewater treatment plant and improving public amenities.

“With funding from the Queensland Government, Council is well advanced on a business case for these works, which we anticipate will be presented at the June Ordinary Council meeting for consideration by Council. 

“We look forward to working with all stakeholders to progress this project and the implementation of other concept master plan objectives in the future,” the Mayor said.

The Government also held community consultations and received more than 160 pieces of feedback on the draft plan when it was released last year.

View the final Great Keppel Island (Woppa) Concept Master Plan here.

Latest Articles