How one of Australia’s most famous resort islands was seized by the government after being abandoned and left to rot due to nearly a million dollars in rent
- Abandoned island resort seized by QLD government
- Resort owners, Tower Holdings, owe $878,000 in rent
A resort on one of Australia’s most picturesque tropical islands that has been abandoned for nearly a decade and a half has been seized by the state government.
The resort on Great Keppel Island off the coast of Rockhampton, Queensland, was taken over by the Queensland government on Friday and its owner, Tower Holdings, owed $878,000 in rent.
The former holiday destination has fallen into a state of disrepair since it was abandoned in 2008, with once-popular hotel rooms and entertainment areas now derelict.
The government plans to replace the facility with a new resort and is beginning to consult with the community to develop master plans.
The seizure comes after a 12-month investigation into the condition of numerous island resorts in the Great Barrier Reef.
The dilapidated Great Keppel Island Resort (pictured) has been seized by the Queensland government and its owners, Tower Holdings, owe $878,000 in rent
“The community has a strong vision for Great Keppel Island,” said Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles.
The resort should “enable tourism by solving the long-standing challenges of attracting investment to the island,” Mr Miles said.
“To clean up the footprint of the abandoned old resort and revive tourism activities that are environmentally friendly and respectful of the island’s cultural heritage,” Miles said.
‘Revoking the lease is the next step in the process.’
Tower Holding’s inability to meet its financial obligations led Treasury Secretary Scott Stewart to call the resort’s fate “disappointing.”
“Our islands are natural resources that we want the people of Queensland to enjoy as part of our great lifestyle,” he said.
“As a government, we are committed to the responsible development of our island resorts for the jobs and business opportunities they create in regional Queensland.”
The resort has been abandoned since 2008, leaving once-popular entertainment areas and hotel rooms derelict or inhabited by wildlife (pictured)
The move comes after a 12-month investigation into a number of abandoned island resorts across the Great Barrier Reef (pictured, Great Keppel Island)
Local MP, Brittany Lauga, said the community had been fighting for several years to restore the resort.
Interest in purchasing the resort to oversee the renovations came from numerous parties, including Hancock Prospecting and Gina Rinehart.
“Ultimately, when Hancock Prospecting decided not to acquire the lease in 2022, it was clear something had to change,” Ms. Luga said.
“That’s why I’ve worked so hard to make sure the leaseholder is held accountable.”
When local media reached out about outstanding rent in March this year, a spokesman for Tower Holdings, an Australian real estate group, said that ‘Tower Holdings has communicated that GKI Resort Pty Ltd has paid millions of dollars in rent to the state over the past 15 years’ . and that they continue to work proactively with the state on the project.”