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Residents plan rally against Gold Coast casino on public land

Tue, Feb 5, 12:34pm by Staff Writer

Gold Coast residents are seeking assurances from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to protect public land at Southport from development for a second Gold Coast casino.

Former city councillor Eddy Sarroff recently wrote to the Premier, asking her to remove Carey Park as one of the 11 sites identified for the global tourism hub.

Mr Sarroff said the council withdrew its support for a planned integrated resort development on State-owned land at Carey Park after a public backlash in October 2017.

In recent times that stance has changed, with the majority of councillors now supporting the Government in reviving the tourism resort proposal and supported public land being considered.

“We feel council has no other choice but to reject the rezoning of the land which we believe is heritage listed,” Mr Sarroff wrote.

“We are calling on your government to withdraw its support to the Carey Park site. A public rally is planned for this coming Thursday and we hope for a positive response … cancellation of the planned rally.”

Developer Norm Rix has joined the residents’ protest, arguing a casino should be built on its own economic merit on private land.

Mr Rix is concerned the council will offer “Carey Park free of charge for a second casino,” according to The Bulletin.

“I am neither for nor against a second casino, but this is a matter of principle,” Mr Rix said.

“The suggestion public space could be given up for a second casino should be a worry for every Gold Coaster,” he said.

Eleven sites considered for casino

Last month, the site of the second Gold Coast casino become a contentious issue once more with Southport emerging as the preferred location according to The Bulletin.

A report by consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) had been employed by local government to conduct an appraisal for the global entertainment hub mooted for the region.

PwC considered size, location and infrastructure around sites along with accessibility and nearby public transport.

The Gold Coast has 11 sites that could support a project such as this according to the report, which included “one option of merged sites in Southport.”

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate rued out a site in Evandale, saying it is “unrealistic”, while Tourism Minister Kate Jones told The Bulletin that the Broadwater Tourist Park would not be redeveloped.

Other sites open for consideration include the Star of the Sea, north of Nerang Street in Southport, the State Government light rail site at the corner of Scarborough and

Queen streets and the Vomitron site in Surfers Paradise.

Carey Park was top of the list in 2018

Carey Park’s potential as a site for the second casino has been a point of conjecture for some time.

A list of potential sites for the controversial project circulated in late 2018 and listed

Carey Park, with the state government still considering the location despite council’s lack of support.

At the Planning Committee meeting, Southport Councillor Dawn Crichlow referenced the confidential list for the Hub when she asked if the park’s heritage listing would prevent a casino from being built there.

Committee chair Cameron Caldwell replied, “no”.

On the decision to distance themselves from the project, Mr Caldwell said, “this is a state government process … it’s too early for us to get involved.”

“It’s up to (the state government) to run the process. We do look forward to seeing what the results are.”

The Queensland Government is aiming to attract national and international investors as part of an A$25billion tourism boost to the region that will support more than 200,000 jobs.

The tourism hub would seek to attract high-profile musical acts, contain apartments, a shopping centre and gaming venue.

The Gold Coast may not be able to sustain a second casino.

Analysts from Macquarie have disputed the necessity of a second Gold Coast casino despite the projected boost in tourism.

David Gabris and Andy Chuk said the Gold Coast was “not the most attractive market” for a new integrated resort and casino relative to other regions in Australia.

Their analysis centres around the existing casino on the Gold Coast, The Star Gold Coast that has a 45 per cent market share.

The market generated A$616 million in gaming revenues in the 2018 fiscal year, underpinned by one of Australia’s highest domestic per capita gaming spends.

“Given the market structure, a new competitor would be arguably challenged to expand the domestic market with an investment case most likely based on taking significant domestic market share from the incumbents,” Macquarie said.


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