The $8.15 billion Aquis Resort near Cairns has today cleared another hurdle with Queensland’s independent Coordinator General approving the project’s Environmental Impact Statement.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney welcomed the approval and said the Government remained committed to seeing the development go ahead.
“The Queensland Government continues to work with Aquis to make this exciting proposal a reality and today’s approval of the project’s EIS is another step in that process,” Mr Seeney said.
“This proposed resort has the potential to create more than 20,000 new jobs for the Cairns region and provide a major boost for North Queensland and the state’s tourism and construction industry.
“This is a world-class proposition that could draw hundreds of thousands of domestic and international visitors to Far North Queensland, and spread economic benefits right across the Cairns community.
“The Coordinator General has thoroughly assessed the environmental, economic and social impacts of the Aquis project, and has decided it can proceed with the conditions set out in his evaluation report.”
Mr Seeney said the Coordinator General’s assessment did not consider the project’s separate application for a gaming licence through the Integrated Resort Development process.
“The proponent’s bid for a gaming licence is being considered through a separate, ongoing process, as well as being subject to full probity checks being undertaken by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General,” he said.
“A decision on these processes is still some way off but today’s news is nevertheless very positive.”
The proposed development site for the Aquis resort is at Yorkey’s Knob, located about 13 kilometres north of Cairns, and covers an area of 343 hectares currently used for sugarcane production.
The resort proposal includes 7,500 hotel rooms, a convention and exhibition centre, entertainment facilities including theatres, gaming facilities, a golf course and an artificial lake and lagoon.
During Stage 1 (2015-2018) the proponent estimates the project has the potential to create 3,750 construction and 1,000 operational jobs, and during Stage 2 (2020-2040) 3,500 construction and 9,000 operational jobs.
The Coordinator-General’s Evaluation Report can be viewed at www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/aquis