JUPITERS Casino has been put on notice to lift its game after the State Government announced overnight that Broadwater cruise terminal proponent ASF Consortium has been awarded the city’s second casino licence.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate this afternoon welcomed the government decision which could see tourism projects worth a combined $15.6 billion kicked off in both the Gold Coast and Cairns.
While the ink has yet to dry on the approvals, the pro-casino Gold Coast Mayor has called on Jupiters to bring its offering up to scratch in order to meet the new competition head on.|
“My attitude has always been that, in a free market, a monopoly is not a wonderful thing – it makes them fat and lazy,” Tate says.
“With competition, Jupiters now has to roll up their sleeves and bring their standard up to five-star-plus again so they can be the envy of Australia.”
The State Government has awarded the Gold Coast casino licence to ASF Consortium and the Cairns licence to Aquis as part of its plans to roll out new casinos across the State to boost tourism and employment.
Aquis is planning an $8.15 billion integrated resort and casino at Yorkeys Knob, just north of Cairns, while ASF has set its sights on a $7.5 billion cruise ship terminal, resort and casino for Wave Break Island on the Southport Broadwater.
“The Queensland Government has identified that these projects have the greatest capacity to deliver the requirements for an integrated resort development in the regions, particularly the potential to attract interstate and international tourists as both these centres have international airports,” says Jeff Seeney, the Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning.
The decision brings the Broadwater project a step closer, despite continued criticism from some sectors within the community and from some councillors.
Tate says the State Government’s casino announcement “means that a cruise ship terminal will be delivered here without burden on the ratepayers”.
“It means future dredging of the Broadwater also will not burden ratepayers.
“But, above all, it is a great economic boost for tourism and construction and future jobs for generations to come.”
Tate says the majority of people on the Gold Coast are “looking forward to delivery of this project”.
“It’s good for the city and I congratulate the State Government for giving it the green light at this time.
“This is a project for the whole of city, in fact the whole of Queensland.”
Tate says it is now up to the ASF Consortium to ensure that the environmental boxes of this project are ticked.
“That’s going to be their next challenge.”
ASF Consortium project director Allan Fife agrees, adding that engineering issues also have to be addressed.
However he says the consortium is confident of achieving both.
“Today’s announcement is a welcomed step in the process but we’re still focused on the considerable amount of work there is to do in terms of environmental and technical studies and further community consultation,” Fife says.
The consortium comprises the Australian listed investment company ASF Group (ASX: AFA), China State Construction Engineering Co Ltd, which is the world’s third largest construction company, and CCCC Guangzhou Dredging Co Ltd, a significant player in dredging and land reclamation for major projects.
Meanwhile, Tate sees the prospect of a major new tourism drawcard in Cairns as no threat to the Gold Coast.
“I’ve never seen Cairns as a threat to our city,” he says. “In fact, Cairns adds value to our city. If someone is going to go to all the effort to go to Cairns from Asia, it’s only an hour-and-a-half to the Gold Coast (from there).
“As far as our city is concerned this will add value to our tourism infrastructure. It will increase tourism.”
THE timing could not have been worse, but Jupiters Casino has hosed down suggestions that managing director Aaron Gomes has quit his post in the wake of the Gold Coast being granted a second casino licence.
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