Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt has welcomed the move by Queensland’s Coordinator-General, Colin Jensen, to declare a proposed $3 billion tourism development south of Cairns a ‘significant project’.

Mr Pitt said the proposed Tropical Paradise Resort Project would see nearly 300 hectares of cane land developed on the eastern side of the Bruce Highway near Thompson Road at Edmonton. The development, to be staged over the next decade, could include:

  • a major US branded theme park and film studio
  • a water park
  • a resort, hotels and a mix of short stay accommodation
  • village centre and themed retail
  • golf driving range
  • extreme sports complex
  • other themed entertainment

“If there is genuine money behind the development, this is an enormously exciting concept for the far north.

“A substantial amount of work would need to be done in order for the proposal to get off the ground however the concept has a lot of merit.

“A project of this scale would complement the forthcoming Edmonton Town Centre development and it will generate significant employment.

“Once fully operational, the resort, film studio, theme park and other facilities will reportedly generate around 1,820 full and part-time jobs.

“Coming from a background working in the film and cinema exhibition industry, the idea of a film studio could do amazing things for the film industry in Queensland.”

However Mr Pitt said it is important to note that a significant project declaration is not an indicator of government support for a project.

“This declaration signals the beginning of a rigorous assessment and community engagement process, which will consider the project’s environmental, economic and social impacts, to determine whether the project is acceptable and what conditions for approval might be imposed,” Mr Pitt said.

“The next step is for draft terms of reference for the EIS to be circulated to key stakeholders and be advertised for public comment in coming months.

“I will of course watch closely what impact the development may have on the implementation of the FNQ 2031 plan and the Mount Peter Master Planning process.”

Mr Pitt said the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, which was passed by Parliament last month, gave priority status to job-creating tourism projects like the proposed Tropical Paradise development, which meant planning decisions could be made more quickly.

“However it’s vital that this priority status is given to large-scale projects, not only those in tourism, but in any sustainable industry that has the potential to provide a massive boost to employment in the regional economy,” Mr Pitt said.

“I’ve also previously called on the Government to support private sector investment projects that will generate employment opportunities today, particularly those in the southern corridor of Cairns.

“The Far North is has an unemployment rate that is over 13 percent and heading north. We need to generate employment opportunities to help the local economy which has been heavily impacted by the collapse of major construction companies and other large employers.

“Those who are willing to press ahead, despite the tough economic times deserve the Government’s full attention. This means cutting red tape where we can and asking how we can help, instead of putting up roadblocks.

“There are shovel-ready projects right now that can provide a major catalyst for local employment and economic growth for the region.

“Like the proposed Edmonton Business and Industry Park on Pregno’s farm, which has the potential to create up to 4,000 jobs during the construction phase plus a similar number ongoing.

“I’m told that the first sod could be turned within months of an approval, which is the kind of project we need in the current economic climate here in FNQ.

“Projects in the southern corridor of Cairns are important to allow Edmonton to shift from being a dormitory suburb, still reliant on the rest of Cairns for employment.”

Information about the Tropical Paradise Resort Project can be found on the Department of Infrastructure and Planning website.