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    Gigantic Cairns and Gold Coast casino proposals step closer to reality

    Nathan Johnson

    The Queensland Government has given the go ahead for two multi-billion dollar resort and casino proposals, one in Cairns and the other on the Gold Coast, to proceed to the next stage of development.

    The proposed $8.15 billion Aquis project in Cairns and the $7.5 billion Broadwater Marine Project on the Gold Coast were selected as the only two projects able to proceed

    They will be able to receive a gaming licence if their projects meet all the necessary environmental, planning and gaming licencing approvals.

    The QLD government has promised the projects would grow the construction sectors of the Queensland on a scale not previously seen in the State.

    As a part of his party’s stimulus package announced in October last year, QLD Premier, Cambell Newman earmarked the potential for up to three resort developments, inviting‘expressions of interest’ from private sector developers.

    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.

    Applicants paid a fee of $100,000 just to have their proposals considered.

    In April, Architecture & Design reported that six integrated resort proposals for regional QLD had been shortlisted for potential development by the state government.

    The proposals for Yorkeys Knob, north of Cairns and Broadwater on the Gold Coast were chosen from a shortlist that also included resort proposals at Airlie Beach, Proserpine, Great Keppel Island and Nerang.

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

    According to the QLD Government, Aquis indicates its project could create more than 3,700 construction jobs, while the ASF Consortium has indicated its Broadwater integrated resort and cruise ship terminal could create 1,300 construction jobs.

    Image: Aquis

    Above: The new artistic render of the "Great Barrier Reef Resort". 
    Below: The orginal artist impression received a mixed review from the public. Both images: Cairns post

    Original artist impression of the Great Barrier Reef Resort. Image: Aquis

    The Broadwater Marine Project will consist of a multi-billion overhaul of the Gold Coast Broadwater region and will include an integrated resort, cruise ship terminal, marina, retail entertainment, hospitality, community open space, recreation facilities and residential development.

    The ASF Consortium has released two draft plans (Below) which include different options for the cruise ship terminal.
    Images: ASF

    Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said the Aquis and ASF Consortium would only receive a gaming licence if their projects proceeded and met all the necessary environmental, planning and gaming licencing approvals.

    Seeney was optimistic about the potential of both resorts to bring tourism dollars to the QLD economy:

    “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,” Seeney said.

    “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.

    Seeney said the other regional submitted proposals 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.”

    The Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort will include:

    • 9 luxury hotels with a total of 3750 rooms
    • 1200 apartments and 135 villas
    • 13,500 m2 of high-end retail shopping
    • international-class casino
    • one of the world's largest aquariums
    • 2 x 2,500-seat theatres
    • 13 ha reef lagoon
    • 65 ha lake surrounding the built form
    • 18-hole golf course
    • 25,000-seat sports stadium
    • 45,000 m2 convention and exhibition centre
    • 1800 staff-accommodation units
    • cultural heritage centre

    The Broadwater Marine Project will include:

    • an international cruise ship terminal to be operational by the 2018 Commonwealth Games
    • luxury hotels
    • marinas and extensive waterfront parklands
    • retail shops
    • residential and entertainment developments
    • creation of a new island community on Wave Break Island and consolidating the role of Southport as the city’s CBD
    • rejuvenation of The Spit
    • creation of a new Eco-Marine Park to generate new awareness of the natural habitat and marine life.

    More information on both resort developments will become available in the next stage of evaluation: "Request for Detailed Proposals". Other information can be found at the ASF Consortium and Aquis websites.  

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

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