Aquis Resort at the Great Barrier Reef 

Aquis Resort at The Great Barrier Reef Pty Ltd


Environment North Principal David Rivett is the Team Leader (Environment) for the Environmental Impact Statement for the $8.15 billion integrated report project planned on degraded cane land at Yorkeys Knob, Cairns. This is the largest non-resource project in Australia and was declared a Coordinated Project under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld). Flanagan Consulting Group assembled a team of local and international experts to prepare 24 detailed technical reports covering a range of environmental, social, infrastructure and economic topics. Environment North managed the Environment Team whose areas of study included Air and Greenhouse, Airport and Aircraft Issues, Aquatic Biodiversity, Coastal Processes, Groundwater, Hazard Risk and Safety, Hydrology and Hydraulics, Landscape and Visual, Noise and Vibration, Soils and Contamination, and Terrestrial Biodiversity.

Environment North also prepared the detailed Airport and Aircraft Issues and Hazard Risk and Safety reports. David Rivett drafted all EIS chapters based on these technical reports and prepared the referral to the Commonwealth Government under the EPBC Act and the associated detailed assessment of matters of national environmental significance. 

The EIS was assessed by the Queensland Government’s Office of the Coordinator General and was approved with conditions on 18 December 2014. EPBC Act approval was granted on 30 April 2015. Although the project did not proceed, the work undertaken was widely recognised as a landmark impact assessment.

Innovation/Distinguishing Features

In managing these studies, Environment North prepared detailed briefs for a two-stage process: Stage 1 was concerned with identifying values, threats, and opportunities and constraints whilst Stage 2 involved a detailed assessment of impacts and opportunities for mitigation. Between these two stages, Environment North assembled all relevant information across disciplines and worked with the project team to refine the project to better fit the site and minimise impacts. This approach ensured that the project assessed in the EIS already incorporated extensive “mitigation by design”. In key areas of biodiversity conservation and water quality a net benefit solution has been able to be secured as a result of this approach.