The Labor government has committed $1 million in matched funding towards the Whitsunday Skyway project. Picture: Supplied
The Labor government has committed $1 million in matched funding towards the Whitsunday Skyway project. Picture: Supplied

Skyway project gets Premier’s tick of approval

PLANS for a cable car connecting Airlie Beach to the Conway Ranges has been earmarked for a funding boost that hinges on the outcome of this week's vote.

The Labor government has committed $1 million in matched funding towards the Whitsunday Skyway project.

The $55 million proposed cable-car project would link the main street of Airlie Beach with a nearby unnamed 430-metre-high peak in the Conway Ranges.

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.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced a re-elected Labor government would contribute funds to buy extra land for Conway National Park, saying the project would support hundreds of jobs.

The view from the top of the proposed Whitsunday Skyway. Picture: Supplied
The view from the top of the proposed Whitsunday Skyway. Picture: Supplied

"The Whitsundays is an iconic Queensland destination and with one in three jobs relying on tourism, the region has been hit hard by COVID-19 and Tropical Cyclone Debbie in 2017," she said.

"The region's attractions are heavily based on its stunning maritime environment, however, a key priority for the local tourism industry is to diversify the region's offering to include more land-based experiences."

The proposal for the project includes a summit cafe, indigenous cultural interpretative centre, 1km cableway, treetop ropes course and new bike and walking trails.

For the development to go ahead, a small parcel of land in Conway National Park adjacent to a residential area in Airlie Beach would need to be revoked and the proponent would need to provide a suitable land offset with higher ecological values.

The view from the top of the Whitsunday Skyway proposed development. Picture: Supplied
The view from the top of the Whitsunday Skyway proposed development. Picture: Supplied

Whitsunday Labor candidate Angie Kelly said the project would provide a high value eco-tourism experience.

"This private investment proposal is a strong vote of confidence in the future of Whitsundays tourism," she said.

"If this proposal stacks up, Labor will be on board to help it grow with $1 million towards the purchase of higher quality land offsets to expand Conway National Park."

The Premier said the proposal had progressed to a detailed assessment under State Development's Exclusive Transaction Framework.

The Queensland Government is also engaging directly with the Gia/Giya and Ngaro traditional owners on the Skyway proposal.

More stories

$11m cash splash for mental health and outpatient services

Luxury hotel in the pipeline for Port of Airlie

'I'll be hanging your kids on your clothesline': Vile threat

 

Earlier this year, 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.

At the time, the Premier dodged the question but expressed support for the project.

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 project gained traction in 2017 after AATG - at the time known as Jimmy Crow - received a $260,000 grant for a feasibility study as part of the Cyclone Debbie recovery fund aimed at rebuilding and growing regional infrastructure.


Everybody appearing at Bowen Magistrates Court today

Premium Content Everybody appearing at Bowen Magistrates Court today

Here is a list of matters listed at Bowen Magistrates Court on Friday.

Camm reveals vision for region in maiden speech

Premium Content Camm reveals vision for region in maiden speech

New Whitsunday MP vows to back many industries that create opportunities for our...

Technicolour journals tackle one of life’s big questions

Premium Content Technicolour journals tackle one of life’s big questions

A Whitsunday artist has called on art cynics, budding Picassos and stick figure...