Gina Rinehart in play for Great Keppel Island

Spreading 970.9 hectares, Great Keppel Island contains 17 beaches.

Gina Rinehart is speculated to be paying $50 million for Great Keppel Island.

The transaction, which hasn’t settled, is with Terry Agnew’s Tower Holdings, which paid $16.5m for the leasehold in 2006.

A transfer to Sunshine Coast developer Altum Property Group three years ago didn’t proceed.

Upsense Media Capital paid over $20m for Dunk Island in June.

In 2019, a deal to Thailand based Wan Long Wei and Pauline Wei – again worth c$50m – also fell over.

Knight Frank and JLL Hotels & Hospitality listed the asset last year.

The sale comes four months since Upsense Media Capital paid c$20m for the cyclone damaged Dunk Island.

In May, Oscars Hotel Group, led by Bill and Mario Gravanis, paid nearly $20m for the Whitsundays’ Long Island, which closed in 2016.

Great Keppel Island

Covering 970.9 hectares off the Capricorn Coast, a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, about 17 per cent (162ha) of Great Keppel Island is developable.

The property was offered permit-ready for a new building with 285 guest suites and 300 apartments.

The proposal also includes a marina, retail village and upgrade of the 800 metre airstrip to cater for direct flights to Brisbane, Cairns and Sydney.

A former redevelopment of the island, mooted about 10 years ago, would have included a golf course and casino.

With 17 beaches, Great Keppel Island hasn’t operated as a business since 2018.

“The potential redevelopment of Great Keppel Island is an opportunity with Australian investment to make this one of the best resorts in Australia, with its special location and white sandy beaches,” a statement by Ms Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting said (story continues below).

“Great Keppel is about an hours flight from Brisbane, making it an ideal holiday destination for Australian families and international visitors,” it added.

“We hope to be able to make it better than it has ever been, with a world class year round beach club, sandy bars, shopping and more experiences circling around a marina modelled after successful marinas like [Spain’s] Puerto Banus.

“We envision a year round swimmable beach club and an underwater bar being able to bring the benefits of overseas tourism to Australia.

“With the announcement of the 2032 Olympics to be held in Brisbane, the redevelopment of Great Keppel Island presents as a great time to showcase Queensland as a premium, world class destination.

“Currently, for various reasons, Great Keppel is not a showcase for Queensland.

“We wish to maintain and improve its natural beauty and tourist facilities, subject to all government approvals, enabling this to make possible, for Queenslanders and others to enjoy for generations to come”.

Both the state and federal government need to sign off on a sale.

Three years ago, Ms Rinehart acquired neighbouring holdings in Brisbane’s Hawthorne, for $18.5m to use as a local base.

In July, the executive – Australia’s richest person – outlaid a speculated $34m for a Noosa beach house, Webb House.

Two months ago the businesswoman banked $100m offloading three Western Australian cattle farms – Nerrima Station, Ruby Plains and Sturt Creek.

Those investments formed part of a $300m portfolio which included four more stations and a feedlot.

Covering 1.87 million hectares, the properties formed part of about a fifth of a 30-asset portfolio Ms Rinehart’s Hancock Agriculture acquired in partnership with S. Kidman & Co, of which the businesswoman holds a majority share.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of