The Queensland Government is testing the market for plans and costings for a global tourism hub with an associated second casino licence, inviting expressions of interest next year.
Southport appears to be the State Government’s favoured location for that tourism hub according to local newspaper, the Gold Coast Bulletin, with up to five sites under consideration.
However, Clubs Queensland marketing and government relations manager Laura Boss has cited research which indicates half of the Gold Coasts registered clubs – including RSL, sports and surf clubs – would be severely impacted if a second casino license was granted.
“We are against a second casino — it’s not necessary,” said Ms Boss.
“It is not the answer to the Gold Coast tourism problem. There has to be something else. If you want to talk about legacy investments I don’t think a casino is that,” Ms Boss said.
“We know if another casino opens there are about 30 clubs that would go to the wall fairly quickly.”
The Minister for Tourism and Innovation, Kate Jones said they will test the market but “won’t approve anything that doesn’t have the broad support of the local community.”
Southport MP Rob Molhoek, who has the support of business and tourism leaders, wants the government to rethink its strategy for a global tourism hub after reports about Carey Park in front of Australia Fair being the favoured site.
The experienced MP and former city councillor warned a casino at Carey Park would compete with the CSi (the former Southport Workers Club), Southport Sharks and the Southport RSL Club, all of which were being upgraded or attracting improved trade after tough times.
“We built our city’s reputation around Surfers Paradise and it will be stranded. There are a significant number of large sites in there that have been lying idle for a long time,” Mr Molhoek said.
“If there’s to be a global tourism hub and refocus on tourism, it should be in the tourism heart.”
But the government almost had “an obsession for public land to be sold”.
“I don’t think giving the land away to a casino operator is in the best public interest,” Mr Molhoek told the Bulletin.
Image: Carey Park at Southport which is favoured as the site for a global tourism hub. Picture Glenn Hasmpson
Sources: Gold Coast Bulletin