MINING and cattle magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest has become one of Cook Shire’s biggest ratepayers after he paid $42 million for Lizard Island.
Mr Forrest and his wife Nicola’s private investment company Tattarang splashed $42 million for the Great Barrier Reef resort.
It comes hot on the heels of the company’s acquisition of celebrity Byron retreat Gaia, which transacted last month for $30 million.
Tattarang declined to comment on the Lizard Island deal, but the vendor, Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed SEA Group, announced the deal in an investor statement.
“The buyer has agreed to purchase the property located at Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia at an aggregate consideration of $42 million in cash,” the statement said.
“The property comprises three parcels of land located at Lizard Island … with an aggregate site area of approximately 2005ha held under the head leases which will expire on 30 September 2050.”
All property on Lizard Island is considered to be in the Cook Shire Council boundary.
Mayor Peter Scott said he didn’t know how much the council received in rates, but “I couldn’t tell you anyway”. He said he hoped the investment from Mr Forrest would bring more people to Lizard Island and see people charter planes to and from Cooktown.
Delaware North subleases the island for about $2 million per annum, and the sale is conditional on this, as well as the approval from the Queensland government to transfer the head leases to Tattarang.
Lizard Island opened as a resort in 1975 and lures deep-pocketed patrons with the appeal of 24 beaches, luxury accommodation and the vivid colours of the reef.
Lizard Island was known as Dyiigurra to the Dingaal First Nations’ people and was regarded as a sacred place.