The Australian, Queensland and local governments are joining forces with Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) to redevelop an iconic Gladstone tourist attraction, the Port City’s famous Auckland Hill.
The project received $5 million in funding from the Australian Government under the Regional Recovery Partnerships program and a further $5 million funding contribution from GPC, provided on behalf of the Queensland Government.
Once complete, the revamped Auckland Hill will feature a modern viewing lookout, increased accessibility and walkways, landscaped community spaces, revitalised infrastructure and facilities for the community, and additional car parking.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the project would be delivered during 2022, with the help of local businesses.
“Approximately 70 construction jobs are expected to be created during the project and there will be opportunities for local suppliers, which will support the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and boost the local economy,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“Revamping Auckland Hill will ensure locals and visitors alike can watch the operations at Gladstone Port, helping them better understand the vital role this gateway plays in driving the local and national economy.
“Gladstone Port connects our regional businesses with international markets, earning export dollars that pay for the services all Australians rely on and helping our businesses to grow and hire more Australians.”
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the Gladstone Port’s role as a major driver of Queensland’s economy would be enhanced by new tourism opportunities provided by the redevelopment.
“Gladstone Port is a powerhouse of the Queensland economy as a world-leading resources trading port, as shown by the record amount of LNG shipped in 2020-21 despite the challenges of the pandemic,” Mr Miles said.
“There is no better place to view Gladstone Port and its surrounds, and to grasp its economic importance, than from this iconic location at Auckland Hill.
“This redevelopment project will not only support local jobs and local businesses but also boost the Gladstone region’s attractiveness as an investment destination.”
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Queensland Government had worked hard to make sure Queensland’s ports remain publicly owned infrastructure.
“The Gladstone Port continues to be in the hands of Queenslanders – creating jobs, boosting our economy and leading in initiatives that benefit not only Gladstone, but the state as a whole,” Mr Bailey said.
“The port made a $93 million profit last financial year (20-21), money all going back to Queensland taxpayers because it’s a government-owned corporation.
“I look forward to seeing construction at Auckland Hill get underway as we kick off another strong year for Queensland exports.”
Queensland Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water Glenn Butcher said the redevelopment project would create jobs for the region and support local businesses.
“It will build capacity across the construction industry, giving small businesses in Gladstone the chance to participate in work they might not otherwise get,” Minister Butcher said.
“In addition to redeveloping the harbour lookout, in July 2021 GPC announced the start of works to deliver a separate viewing platform overlooking the Marina, which will also provide another reason for domestic, cruise ship and future international tourists to make Gladstone a key stop on their travels.
“The incredible development at East Shores by the GPC is already award-winning and extremely popular with locals, this new project will give everyone the best possible views of our beautiful region.”
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said that Traditional Owners of the area were also involved in the project to help share and highlight the region’s Indigenous culture.
“Their involvement will help to generate knowledge, awareness and opportunities through tourism, visitors and local interactions,” Mr O’Dowd said.
“This project is an investment in the culture and community of the area, as well as the local economy.”
Gladstone Regional Council Acting Mayor Kahn Goodluck said the Auckland Hill developments will add further value to the East Shores precinct, which has undergone rapid transformation since 2014.
“We’ve seen what GPC has been able to achieve with the development of East Shores Stage 1a and more recently the completion of Stage 1b, so I have no doubt the redevelopment of Auckland Hill will be another fantastic addition to the East Shores precinct,” Acting Mayor Goodluck said.
“This development is a welcome addition to the many parklands and community spaces within the Gladstone Region and is sure to enhance our visitor economy and tourism appeal.”
The local tourism advisory group and Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited are preparing their re-opening plans for when the cruise ship industry is able to return, attracting passengers to visit and to entice them back to holiday in the region.
GPC Acting Chief Executive Office Paul Heagney said the project is an important part of the Port’s sustainability strategy in diversifying and integrating a world-class operating port, including hosting the cruising industry when it is ready to return to Australian shores.
“The location of Auckland Hill is perfectly placed in walking distance to the cruise terminal and adjacent to our foreshore parklands that provide uninterrupted views across the harbour,” Mr Heagney said.
“A short walk to the city centre enables connection to local businesses and to some of the most wonderful waterfront areas in the nation.
“The site at Auckland Hill is one of the most popular locations in Central Queensland for locals and visitors alike and it’s not hard to see why – from Auckland Hill you can enjoy a rare, birds-eye view of the port and harbour.
“The funding for the redeveloped lookout will not only create a popular tourism location to attract visitors but will instil pride in our community and the social infrastructure we have to offer.”