Tower Holdings hit back at State Government over lease saga

A SPOKESPERSON from Tower Holdings has hit back at the State Government, saying the $1.2 million they have paid in lease payments so far had not gone back into GKI.

They also revealed the company was denied a request for a time extension on their rental arrear payments, which total almost $250,000.

Intention to forfeit notices delivered to Tower Holdings earlier this month revealed the company has until April 28 to pay after being in rental arrears for over a year.

The spokesman said they were advised by The Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM) only two weeks ago that additional time would not be provided, and were now in the process of having the outstanding payments made.

But the spokesperson also revealed Tower Holdings had "honoured" all of its State Government lease payments on GKI since its ownership.

"Unfortunately, none of this money has been spent by the State Government on improving infrastructure on the Island," they said.

The company also hit out at Keppel MP Brittany Lauga, who revealed both the intention notices and the outstanding rental arrears to the public.

"It is unfortunate that the local Member for Keppel recently voted against a boutique gaming license for GKI which would have ensured project finance being secured and that the project would be able to commence," the spokesperson said.

"For a major tourism project in Queensland which would create 1,500 jobs in regional Central Queensland, it would be a lot more helpful to get genuine support from our local member rather than this negative press about an issue which we were already resolving with the appropriate Government Department."

In response to the statements, Ms Lauga reiterated points she had previously made regarding the rental arrears and Tower's non-compliance with lease complaints.

She has been pushing for Tower to apply to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund and start a scaled back version of Stage 1 of the GKI project.

"It's a shame that Tower Holdings continues to go on about a casino licence, especially when there are alternative pathways on the table," Ms Lauga said.

"I suggest that Tower pay the rent and any rates in arrears, and progress its redevelopment proposal."

DNRM also contacted Livingstone Shire Council over Tower, to determine whether there were outstanding rates and charges in relation to the leases and whether the council intends on making an application to the minister for approval to sell the leases.

Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig yesterday said he would not be providing comment on the issue, stating it was confidential and council would be going through "normal procedures".