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Greg Norman-backed resort project casino miss "unbelievable"

Greg Norman and Terry Agnew on Great Keppel Island
Greg Norman and Terry Agnew on Great Keppel Island Christine Mckee

9.10am: MARY Carroll says it is "unbelievable" that the Greg Norman-backed Great Keppel Island revitalisation development has missed out on a casino licence.

The Capricorn Enterprise chief executive said she was bitterly disappointed that Central Queensland and the southern Great Barrier Reef had missed out, particularly considering that GKI was one of the few applicants with all the necessary approvals in place for integrated resort development.

"Aquis proposal by Tony Fung at Yorkeys Knob in Cairns ($8.15 billion) and the ASF Consortium Broadwater Marine project ($7.5 billion) at the Gold Coast haven't even got their approvals in place. ASF haven't even submitted its EIS," Ms Carroll said.

Ms Carroll has spoken with Tower Holdings and said they were still considering the announcement before providing any formal comment.

"Tower Holdings in the middle of their international investment campaign led by Greg Norman and this announcement will certainly change the goal posts in respect to investment opportunities," she said.

"Tower Holdings has stated previously that the development will proceed regardless of a casino licence, but today's announcement does change the sales pitch.

"Today's announcement is a great shame for our destination and Tower Holdings as a fully owned Australian company," she said. 

8.20am: GREAT Keppel Resort has missed out on one of two regional casino licences the State Government wants to issue.

The only two remaining bidders included the $8.15 billion Aquis casino resort at Yorkeys Knob, north of Cairns and ASF's $7.5bn Broadwater Marine project, on the northern end of the Gold Coast.

The State Government has ruled out the other five, including the Great Keppel Island proposal which involved golf legend Greg Norman.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said Aquis and ASF now needed to pass the final hurdles in receiving environmental, planning and probity approvals.

"We promised to grow the construction and tourism sectors of the Queensland economy and today's announcement paves the way for this to happen on a scale not previously seen in our State," Mr Seeney said.

"In October last year the Queensland Government decided that up to two gaming licences would be offered to encourage the provision of world-class integrated resorts in regional Queensland.

"Labor rested on its laurels when it came to tourism, construction and jobs, whereas we have delivered a strong plan for a brighter future for our key regional tourism centres and their communities."

Mr Seeney said both Aquis and the ASF Consortium will now have the opportunity to put forward more details about their proposed developments.

"The Queensland Government has identified that these projects have the greatest capacity to deliver the requirements for an integrated resort development in the regions, particularly the potential to attract interstate and international tourists as both these centres have international airports," he said.

"These projects have the potential to create thousands of new jobs in these two key tourism centres, with Aquis indicating its project could create more than 3,700 construction jobs and more than 10,000 ongoing operational jobs.

"The ASF Consortium has indicated its Broadwater integrated resort and cruise ship terminal could create 1,300 construction jobs and more than 10,000 ongoing operational jobs.

"It is on this basis the government will now invite Aquis and the ASF Consortium to submit detailed proposals as part of the next phase of our Competitive Bid Process."

Mr Seeney said the other four regional EOI participants submitted proposals that were only in the early stages of development and their projects needed a considerable amount of work before they could meet the criteria set down for this process.

"A number of projects faced challenges such as lack of access to an international airport, which meant they could not operate internationally competitive resorts or boost international visitor numbers to Queensland," he said.

"That said, as with all major projects, the Queensland Government is happy to continue to work with them to progress their potential developments."

More information on the EOI process for integrated resort developments is available at http://www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/integratedresorts

Topics:  casino licence, great keppel island, state government



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