Queensland Government cans $3 billion casino

Queensland Government cans $3 billion casino

10 August 2017

The Queensland Government has rejected plans for a proposed $3 billion casino resort on the Gold Coast’s Southport Spit, reports ABC News.

The decision follows several months of community consultation in which stiff opposition emerged from local licensed clubs and environmental and community groups.

The preferred tenderer for the second Gold Coast casino, Chinese consortium ASF, had planned a five-tower development on crown land that included a casino, entertainment venues, theatres, hotels and residential apartments, creating 13,000 jobs and injecting more than $700 million into the local economy.

ASX-listed ASF Group yesterday requested its shares be placed in a trading halt.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said possible compensation for ASF would be discussed following the decision

“I don’t have those details, that’s a matter that will be discussed with crown law but we have made this decision,” she said. “I honestly believe we made the right decision. We have listened.”

The Australian reports that a deed agreement signed with the government in 2015 granted ASF legal rights as the exclusive preferred proponent for the integrated resort and casino.

A second casino licence for the Gold Coast—central to the ASF project—will remain on offer.

“That casino licence will remain on the Gold Coast but there will be no integrated resort development here on The Spit,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

When announcing the government’s decision, Ms Palaszczuk said she wanted the Spit to be a “central parkland of the Gold Coast for generations of families to enjoy”.

“I want that to be a significant legacy of my government,” she said.

The government will now develop a new master-plan for the area, a process expected to take 18 months.

The plan will not rule out future development on the Spit but will impose a height limit of three stories, notes The Guardian.

“This locks in low-density, three-storey development for our future generations,” said Deputy Premier Jackie Trad. “It also helps get the balance right between protecting environmental and community values and allowing appropriate commercial development.”

The limit effectively scuttles the 44-storey Mariners Cove proposal by Sunland, whose founder Soheil Abedian is frustrated by the decision, says the Gold Coast Bulletin.

“The reality is The Spit is the most valuable land on the Gold Coast and a three-storey limit is not viable for any company to pursue,” he said.

The Premier encouraged the Gold Coast council to continue its work on a proposed cruise ship terminal at Philip Park on the southern end of the Spit.

The terminal is estimated to cost between $170 and $450 million is expected to bring over $4 billion to the economy.

Some confusion remains, though, because the government’s website specifically names Philip Park as part of the public space under review.

The website says the government is “looking to develop a detailed plan to preserve and improve the area to the north of Sea World, including Muriel Henchman Park, Doug Jennings Park, the Marine stadium, Federation Walk Coastal Reserve and Philip Park (other than a small parcel on a long-term lease to the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort) to the east of Seaworld Drive.”