The proposed $8.15 billion Great Barrier Reef Aquis Resort in Cairns has stepped closer to realisation with the Queensland’s independent Coordinator General approving the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The EIS was first released for public and government consultation back in June but additional information was requested by the Coordinator General in September.

Those demands were met and the Coordinator General has now passed on the EIS with recommendations to receive approval to the Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS).

Once that approval has been granted by the IDAS, and the project receives DA and gaming licence approvals, Aquis will again move closer to becoming Australia’s largest integrated resort.

If approved, Aquis will span 340.6 ha and incorporate eight luxury hotels, 1200 apartments and a 13ha reef lagoon. It will also be a massive piece of infrastructure for the state of QLD, delivering 3,750 total construction jobs and a 20,000-strong operational workforce.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney welcomed the EIS approval from the Coordinator General but said it didn’t indicate that the project would receive a gaming licence.

 “The Coordinator General has thoroughly assessed the environmental, economic and social impacts of the Aquis project, and has decided it can proceed with the conditions set out in his evaluation report,” he said.

“The proponent’s bid for a gaming licence is being considered through a separate, ongoing process, as well as being subject to full probity checks being undertaken by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.”

“A decision on these processes is still some way off but today’s news is nevertheless very positive.”

The proposal from Aquis says the resort will include:

  • 8 luxury hotels with a total of 3750 rooms
  • 1200 apartments and 135 villas
  • 13,500 m2 of high-end retail shopping
  • international-class casino
  • one of the world's largest aquariums
  • 2 x 2,500-seat theatres
  • 13 ha reef lagoon
  • 65 ha lake surrounding the built form
  • 18-hole golf course
  • 25,000-seat sports stadium
  • 45,000 m2 convention and exhibition centre
  • 1800 staff-accommodation units
  • cultural heritage centre

Images and video: Aquis