The view from the top of the proposed Whitsunday Skyway.
The view from the top of the proposed Whitsunday Skyway.

Premier indicates support for Whitsunday tourism attraction

THE Premier has dodged an MP's call for a commitment to green-light a major Whitsunday tourism attraction by July 30 but she has expressed support for the project.

Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan asked Annastacia Palaszczuk whether she would commit to grant all necessary approvals to facilitate the development of the Whitsunday Skyway by July 30.

The proposed cable-car project would link the main street of Airlie Beach with a nearby unnamed 430-metre-high peak in the Conway Ranges.

Responding to Mr Costigan's question on notice in Queensland Parliament, Ms Palaszczuk said the group had recently submitted the proposal application for assessment.

"For this new infrastructure development proposal, the assessment process will confirm and progress several matters, including approvals required," she said.

"I am advised that the development may also require Federal Government approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999."

Ms Palaszczuk did not address the Whitsunday MP's call for a commitment by July 30.

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Annette Dew
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Annette Dew

But Dawson MP George Christensen has questioned why the Premier mentioned the Federal Government approval at all.

"I think it's very rich for the State Government to suggest the project may be held up by the Federal Government when, for probably the past year, the project has stalled because the state environment department's attitude has been if an application on the project would be presented they would immediately stamp it with a 'no'," Mr Christensen said.

"Obviously there's been a breakthrough because … the state environment department's view has been that national parks are not right for tourism developments."

The view from the top of the proposed Whitsunday Skyway development.
The view from the top of the proposed Whitsunday Skyway development.

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The Dawson MP has been a supporter of the Whitsunday Skyway, which he said would give tourists "something new and exciting to do" in the region after international travel restrictions were lifted.

Ms Palaszczuk said the State Government continued "to support projects that align with the key priorities of job creation, strong local and regional economic growth, and the development of new tourism experiences such as the Skyway proposal".

The cable-car would leave from a block of land on Waterson Way, behind Magnums Backpackers, and travel towards a summit overlooking Airlie Beach, the Coral Sea and nearby Whitsunday islands.

Australian Adventure Tourism Group is behind the project and executive chairwoman Elizabeth Hackett said the proposal was first floated to local and state authorities about a decade ago without much interest.

However, the economic impact of coronavirus in tourism regions has sparked renewed interest in the project.