Jan 23, 2019

Media Release – Labor’s Plan to Rejuvenate Great Keppel Island – Wednesday, 23 January 2019

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $25 million to rejuvenate Great Keppel Island, helping to grow tourism, create jobs and deliver an $80-million-a-year boost to the region’s economy.

Great Keppel has amazing, untapped tourism potential but it is held back by a lack of basic infrastructure, including drinking water and a reliable power supply.

Federal Labor’s investment – which matches the Queensland Government’s investment – will deliver new infrastructure for permanent and reliable electricity and water supply on the Island.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will visit Great Keppel Island on Wednesday morning to make the announcement.

“I’m taking a hands-on approach to job creation in Central Queensland,” Mr Shorten said.

“This is a beautiful part of Queensland with massive potential. You just need a government in Canberra that listens and acts.

“Russell Robertson has been on the phone to me about how important this investment is. He’s done a fantastic job advocating for Great Keppel Island and the entire region.”

Shadow Minister for Regional Services Stephen Jones said water quality and reliable power supply presents significant challenges for island businesses and residents.

“The island relies on diesel-powered generators as the main source of power, and access to drinking water is through rainwater harvesting or bottled water from the mainland. This is costly and time consuming, and is holding Great Keppel back,” Mr Jones said.

“This funding will see key infrastructure built on the island, including a permanent and reliable supply of power and drinking water. Our investment will aim to grow tourism on Great Keppel and the surrounding region, supporting existing tourism operators, residents, and future tourism development projects.”

Shadow Minister for Tourism Anthony Albanese said with improved infrastructure, it is expected that the island will accommodate about 860,000 visitors, workers and residents a year, and contribute more $83 million per annum to the local economy.

“We know tourism operators need reliable water and power, and the lack of these basic services is a barrier to investment. Labor’s commitment will allow for sustainable development, meaning more visitors, more jobs and more money going to local businesses,” Mr Albanese said.

Labor Candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson welcomed Labor’s investment to rejuvenate Great Keppel Island.

“This is a great day for the Capricorn Coast. I’ve been working for months to secure this investment for our region, and now we know a Shorten Labor Government will deliver it,” Mr Robertson said.

“I’ve been calling on both Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison to make this commitment, but Bill is the only one who has listened.

“Michelle Landry has been too caught up in the chaos in Canberra to secure this funding. She’s forgotten Great Keppel Island exists at all.

“Great Keppel is the most beautiful on the Great Barrier Reef. Everyone knows that infrastructure funding for Great Keppel Island will mean more visitors, more jobs and more money going into our local economy.

“As your local member, I’ll make sure Great Keppel gets the investment, infrastructure and jobs it deserves.”

Mr Shorten said only Labor is committed to rejuvenating Great Keppel Island.

“I believe in a fair go for all Australians, and that means a fair go for Central Queenslanders.

I’m determined to deliver job-creating infrastructure for Central Queenslanders, and I can pay for it because I will make multinational companies pay their fair share of tax.”