With investments of A$3-5 billion in Cairns and AU$1.5 billion on the Gold Coast
As Japan edges closer towards casino legislation through investment in Integrated Resorts, the Queensland state government has decided to join the IR bandwagon and is set to invite investors in late July or August to register their interest in the development of a new large-scale integrated resort with a casino licence on Australia’s popular Gold Coast.
As media reporters licked their lips on the glossy news, saying that the government is also having talks with investors to develop another integrated resort in the coastal city of Cairns, there is some new noise that there would be more IR investment encouraged in the state.
The government would issue two new casino licences for the projects. It would also consider one operator for both developments and the success of Cairns might be dependent on the Gold Coast integrated resort going forward, the reports say.
Four years ago, the State had poor interest with efforts to establish new IRs.
However, with investment proposals expected to be far more modest than the more ambitious A$8 billion mega projects mooted in 2014, chances are greater now with investments in the new developments likely to be A$3-5 billion in Cairns and AU$1.5 billion on the Gold Coast.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recently travelled to Las Vegas and Macau and reportedly met investors. Already there are expressions of interest in the Cairns resort with around 10 investors registering an interest, including some from the United States.
The new IR developments on the Gold Coast and in Cairns would be expected to create jobs and reinvigorate key locations across the state. The Queensland government is reportedly working with the Gold Coast city council to identify suitable blocks of land there.
A competitive tender process would likely attract big brands, ensure transparency and the highest standards of probity as well as spell out commitments to generate local employment and use local suppliers and companies during the construction process.
The government is seeking to boost tourism numbers and create more local jobs. The Gold Coast is already highly popular with Chinese tourists, who now make up a quarter of all arrivals. Last year Queensland welcomed 2.7 million visitors – a record – with year on year growth of 4.3 percent. Chinese visitation grew to a record high of 503,000, surpassing half a million visitors for the first time.
More direct flights with China and Singapore are also in the pipeline, which should ensure the area remains popular, particularly as the time zones are similar.
Tourism in Queensland contributes AU$23 billion to the state’s economy and supports over 230,000 jobs and the government is committed to supporting the growth of the sector.