Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Ella Bay Integrated Resort Development approved

Media release
19 December 2012

Environment Minister, Tony Burke, has approved the Ella Bay Integrated Resort Development in far north Queensland.

Mr Burke said the approval will be subject to 19 strict conditions to minimise its potential environmental impacts including on the world heritage listed Queensland Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef.

"With these conditions in place, I am satisfied that this project can go ahead without unacceptable impacts on matters protected under national environmental law, including world heritage properties and listed threatened species and communities," Mr Burke said.

"Since its referral the project has undergone several changes to its design, including a suite of measures and an effective offsets package, to avoid and mitigate potential impacts on matters of national environmental significance.

"I am satisfied that the development will not have an unacceptable impact on the outstanding universal value of either the  Wet Tropics of Queensland or the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Areas, in part because the development will occur on an existing cleared site.

"Additional protections include the resort's design philosophy including extensive open spaces, stringent water treatment and management, and buffers to the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area.

"A key condition is the Environmental Management Plan which covers all facets of the development, construction and operation of the development and which will effectively manage and mitigate negative impacts to listed threatened species and world heritage.

"The southern cassowary has been a key consideration of the environmental assessment. Through the establishment and expansion of vegetation corridors and development of a unique protective fencing system, I am satisfied the cassowary has been protected.

"The approval also puts in place an effective offsets package composed of onsite habitat rehabilitation and transfer of habitat to Queensland National Parks.

"I am satisfied that the combination of these 19 strict conditions and the offsets package will ensure that the proposed three resort precincts and four residential precincts will avoid unacceptable impacts on both Australia's precious world heritage listed areas and its fauna."

Other mitigation measures include the placement of 214 hectares of onsite habitat under conservation covenant and 50 hectares of onsite habitat revegetation.

The project was assessed by environmental impact statement under the bilateral agreement with Queensland.