Thu, Apr 20, 12:21pm by Staff Writer
The liberalisation of casino licensing is set to become an issue in next year’s Queensland state election, with the Liberal National Party opposition saying the current government had failed those in North Queensland by failing to grant licenses in Cairns.
The $8 billion Cairns casino project at Yorkey’s Knob fell over last year with developer Aquis citing concerns over the Chinese VIP market.
But Deputy LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said uncertainty over the Labor government’s casino licensing plans had also been a factor.
She has pledged to call for registrations of interest for up to two regional casino licences within the first 100 days of a prospective LNP government.
“Developers are extremely interested in building a world-class integrated resort development in regional Queensland but Labor won’t give them a chance,” Ms Frecklington told the Cairns Post.
“Queensland is missing out on billions of dollars of investment and thousands of job opportunities because Labor can’t make a decision.”
The current policy for expansion of casino licences is that any new casino has to be within 70km of a regional centre with at least 150,000 people
There is also a proviso that it has to be located near an international airport.
Ms Frecklington said the LNP, which led the way by expanding casino licences when it was last in government, would abolish those conditions.
“Unfortunately for North Queensland, and especially Cairns, Labor hasn’t bothered to do anything about a casino licence since it lost the Aquis deal despite saying on March 16, 2016, it would,” she said.
While the massive casino project at Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane is already under construction, the expected boom in casino resorts has not materialised in regional Queensland.
There is a proposal from ASF to build a second casino on the Gold Coast which is currently going through community consultation. Crown Resorts are the front-runners to run that should it be approved but that process has been painfully slow.
Cairns and Townsville both already have casinos, but are centres of tourism in North Queensland.
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