Kelley Vick -
Australia's Environment Minister, Tony Burke, gave his approval yesterday for development of a $600 million resort on Great Keppel Island, a rugged island just off the coast of Queensland boasting 17 white sandy beaches with some of the highest cover of hard coral reefs on Australia's famed Great Barrier Reef.
The planned resort consists of a 250-room hotel, 750 Villas, 600 apartments, a 250-berth marina, and a golf course designed by Greg Norman.
This is the third attempt for developer Tower Holdings to get plans green-lighted by the government -- the first two included an even larger-scale resort and were denied due to environmental concerns (original plans reportedly included three hotels with 700 rooms).
"In considering this proposal I have taken into account the likely impacts on matters protected under national environment law, including measures to ensure the ongoing protection of the Great Barrier Reef," Mr. Burke said in a statement, explaining the Australian federal government has imposed 96 conditions on the Great Keppel development's approval.
"The conditions I have imposed will ensure that the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef is not diminished by this development."