Queensland Approves $1.4-B Resort Tourism Project

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 21, 2012 12:38 PM EST

The state of Queensland has given a conditional stamp of approval to a proposed $1.4 billion resort tourism and residential development project at Ella Bay near Innisfail, south of Cairns.

Worth A$1.4 billion and spread over a former 450 hectare cattle property, the project consists of three resort precincts, four residential precincts, a retail village, an 18-hole golf course as well as a cassowary research and education centre.

"A project of this magnitude, catering for tourists as well as permanent residents, will be a wonderful economic boost for the community, both locally and further afield," Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said in a statement.

The project is expected to contribute A$256 million annually in tourism and A$50 million in State Government taxes and duties.

Approved but subject to 38 conditions, the approval recommendation has been sent to the Federal Minister for Environment Tony Burke for his consideration.

The project expects to provide jobs to 400 people over a 15-year construction period. Once completed, 800 full-time operational jobs as well as 240 part-time peak-season jobs may be expected.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney hoped it would get the Federal Government's nod, since the state and federal governments had adopted a bilateral approval process.

"The difference here is that it is only an hour-and-a-half from Cairns International Airport - I stress - an international airport," Mr Newman said.

"It's obviously got some very unique features of its own in terms of the great surroundings of the thing."

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