Reever and Ocean Pty Ltd, the developer behind the Kur-World project touts job growth as the biggest benefit for locals. If the project is fully delivered with 373 residential blocks, 500 student villas, golf course and resort one would assume many short-term construction jobs will flow. The scale of the project would indicate that many of these construction jobs will fall into the laps of large construction companies through a tendering process.

Contention over the subdividing of 373 new residential blocks is one major concern.  The proposed residential estate will negate any long-term job growth and in fact most likely lead to further unemployment in the region. For example, if each new household had two working adults then another 746 new jobs must be created from thin air, or they travel to Cairns or Mareeba each day adding to further pressure on the Kuranda Range and Kennedy Highway.

A leaked statement from a consultant working on the EIS has stated that the proposed 500 student villas are earmarked for Chinese students who will come to learn English whilst also working at the proposed resort on working 457 Visas.

As seen in other similar Integrated Resort projects constructed recently, employment figures are grossly exaggerated. Port Hinchinbrook, touted at the time of construction of delivering 500 long-term full time jobs has fallen short by 490 jobs. Other similar examples such as False Cape and Paradise Palms show a broken history of fabricated expectations.

Let’s consider, if Stage 3, the resort component is never built, but the 373 urban blocks are carved up for residential housing in Stage 1 & 2 as planned, then this could be considered as the real motivation behind the Kur-World project. This is the most logical explanation why Ken Lee is pushing ahead with a mega-project that overwhelms local government and triggers a project of state significance status to side track local planning laws. Is this just another urban subdivision by stealth? If so, long-term meaningful jobs will amount to zero.

Also, consider this in context with all local and regional plans to date that legislate that the Myola valley is not considered necessary for urban development!

Should we accept short term construction jobs at the expense of Kuranda losing it’s ‘Spirit of Place’. Is this the legacy we should accept or even tolerate? Kuranda is unique in the world and it already attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. Urbanising and sterilising it with small 600 square metre blocks, golf courses and another shopping centre could be considered as not the best way forward for our ‘Village in the Rainforest’.

Whichever way one looks at this project, Kuranda will be stranded with urban blight on her doorstep with an insignificant number of meaningful long-term job opportunities for locals.

Steven Nowakowski