Direct negotiations between the Queensland government and The Star Entertainment Group for the realisation of its $2 billion Master Plan would begin in an effort to put the project on the fast-track, the government has confirmed.
Tourism Industry Development Minister, Kate Jones, yesterday issued terms for negotiation under which contracting work for the delivery of the Master Plan and other tourism infrastructure around the state.
The move comes just three days after New South Wales’ Independent Planning Commission rejected the same company’s redevelopment plans at Pyrmont, which was due to include a proposed luxury hotel managed by Ritz-Carlton.
Separately, the government has issued a community consultation report for the Gold Coast in which residents are invited to provide submissions into how to grow the city’s economy and tourism industry through new hotels, attractions and convention space.
“Our government has always said we want to work with the private sector to deliver more investment and more jobs for the Gold Coast,” Minister Jones said.
“We entered into a market process to deliver more tourism infrastructure for the Gold Coast.
“Out of that process, Star has made it clear that they are keen to contractualise their investment in the Gold Coast.
“By having a contract with the Star, we can guarantee that tourism infrastructure that is promised will be delivered.”
According to Jones, the majority of Gold Coast residents were supportive of or had no concerns with a new casino as long as it was integrated into a resort development and not built on public land.
Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) CEO, Dean Long, welcomed the move by the Queensland government, saying the intentions between the two states couldn’t be more contrasting.
“The Queensland Government continues to demonstrate a clear understanding of the $24.4 billion contribution that tourism makes to the Queensland economy,” Long said.
In his comments, Long took another swipe at the NSW Independent Planning Commission for its “short-term decision”.
“There appears to be little understanding of the $31.9 billion contribution that tourism makes to the NSW economy and the significant impact on jobs.”
Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) CEO, Michael Johnson, added: “TAA is very pleased with the government fast-tracking this master plan. With the award-winning Darling Hotel addition, the time is well poised for The Star to continue with the master plan of additional accommodation and food and beverage offerings.”