Muslims have $500 million plan to create a little Dubai in Central Australia

  • From: NT News

Central Australia could get a dose of Dubai style if new plans go ahead. Picture: AFP/KARIM SAHIB Source: News Limited

A TERRITORY-bred entrepreneur has a $500 million plan, which has the backing of the NT Government, to create a “little Dubai” in the Central Australian desert.

Alice Springs entrepeneur, Alex Hatzimihail. Picture: Supplied Source: News Corp Australia

Alex Hatzimihail is close to formalising a contract with the NT Government to lease part of the Desert Knowledge Precinct for the multimillion-dollar development, which he says will “transform Alice Springs”.

Testing Ferrari-style supercars, housing students, designing pharmaceuticals and other technologies are all elements of the millionaire’s grand plan to rejuvenate the precinct off the Stuart Highway.

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It is predicted the plan could grow the Alice Springs population from 25,000 to up to 100,000 within a few years and generate 15,000 jobs.

Mr Hatzimihail, who proclaims his Hatzimihail Group and affiliated companies to be worth about $250 million, says his business proposal to install an international student hub and technology park into the precinct has Chief Minister Adam Giles’s backing.

He told the NT News a contract would be signed within a month.

“Because of the support we have from Adam Giles and because he shares the same ­vision … this project will happen,” Mr Hatzimihail said.

A spokesman for Mr Giles confirmed “the Territory Government was in the early stages of discussions about the precise scope and nature of the proposal”.

“We want to ensure any proposal for the Desert Knowledge Precinct complements its important role in helping inform public policy and enabling economic development, not only Central Australia but across all of remote Australia,” the spokesman said.

Currently, the precinct is being used to house training, research and education facilities, including the local campus of the Batchelor Institute.


Mr Hatzimihail said his company’s input into the park would “create work … (and) boost the economy”.

“The reason I’m doing it is because I am from Alice Springs and I want to see my town growing,” he said.

The growth Mr Hatzimihail wants to see is major – in five to six years, he predicts his project could expand the town’s population to up to 100,000.

This massive flux would arise from reeling in hundreds of international students.

“Because when you bring overseas students every student will need three people to accommodate that person,” Mr Hatzimihail said.

“So if we bring in 5000 students every year, that will be like 15,000 more jobs in Alice.

“I will make sure I will make it the little Dubai of Australia – that I can promise you. We will excite all the young generation.”

He indicated there would be no time wasted in pushing his plans to fruition.

“Once we get the lease signed, by the end of this year we’re going to have cement in the ground,” he said.