The State Government has finally released a list of ‘secret’ locations for the Gold Coast’s second casino.
It follows an announcement that the Government will soon enter into negotiations with The Star Gold Coast in a bid to fast track new tourism infrastructure for the Gold Coast.
The list of locations formed just part of a detailed report, which also investigated exactly why we should look to bring world class tourism opportunities to the Gold Coast and exactly what we need to do to achieve that.
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Locations touted for a potential ‘hub’, as part of the government’s community and stakeholder consultation report, include:
- The Old Gold Coast Hospital
- Carey Park in Southport
- Broadwater Parklands
- Broadwater Tourist Park
- Surfers Paradise
- the Hinterland
- Golf/Turf Club
- Tuesleys Park
- Main Beach Tourist Park
- Macintosh Island
While each location was considered with pros and cons, some in more detail than others such as Southport’s Carey Park, critics argue the list is now irrelevant given the Star’s plan to upgrade its Broadbeach site.
It has also committed to an expansion of the Convention Centre, and a refurbishment of the Sheraton Mirage at The Spit if it remains the only casino operator in the city.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones says the main thing government negotiators are focused on is how quickly The Star can deliver this proposal.
“What we would need is contractual time frames on the infrastructure that they will deliver.
“They’ve said that they would like to build four more towers… we don’t have locked in time frames like at Queens Wharf (Brisbane).
“I think it’s really important that the Queens Wharf decision – in Brisbane – locked The Star into delivering certain infrastructure including significant public infrastructure in certain time frames.
“Currently we don’t have that with The Star (on the Gold Coast).
“The Star have gone public saying we would like to build more than $2 billion in infrastructure, upgrade the convention centre, do a massive refurbishment of the Sheraton Mirage… but at the moment is none of that is contractually locked into.
“So if their offer to us is, that they want to sit down with government, work through what our expectations are, which clearly is, as John Witheriff’s report shows, that if we are going to maintain the Gold Coast as a globally competitive tourism destination, then we need significant new investment and world class facilities sooner rather than later.
“So certainly timeliness in regards to when The Star will commit to building new infrastructure will be front of mind for State Government negotiators,” Minister Jones said.
The negotiations have raised questions that the State Government might be bowing to The Star, with some worried a second casino won’t eventuate at all.
“What I’m bowing to is the real interest of the Gold Coast tourism industry to see new investment and world class facilities,” Minister Jones answered.
“When I started this process, what I was looking for is a contractual deadline to build brand new tourism infrastructure for the city.
“We want to make sure that a company that wants to invest in the Gold Coast, will sign up to real deadlines around doing that – just like how The Star has done in Brisbane,” Minister Jones said.
Mayor Tom Tate, who has consistently backed a second operator in the spirit of competition and diversity, is confident Kate ‘won’t cave’ to the wrong decision.
“Personally, I’m not for monopoly.
“So if they’re going to come to an arrangement, at the very least – keep the exclusivity to the very short term.
“The devil’s in the detail, my attitude is that if the star can bring it up to a world class global tourism hub – it’d be hard for me to say no.
“We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have the expressions of interest from the global tourism hub.
“Kate won’t cave, she’s got the best interest of the Gold Coast at heart, I know that because I talk to her weekly, Mayor Tate said.