The Palaszczuk government’s decision to reject a $3 billion casino plan on the Gold Coast will “send shockwaves” through the investment community, the state opposition claims.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Tuesday put a halt to development plans for the northern end of the Spit, announcing cabinet had rejected a proposal by Chinese-backed ASF to build an integrated casino and resort on the crown land.
Instead, the government will develop a master plan over the next 18 months for the area, including an enforcement of a three-storey height restriction on any development.
Liberal National Party leader Tim Nicholls on Wednesday said the decision would raise concerns among investors that government support for projects could suddenly fall away.
“You can consult for years, you can invest millions of dollars in good faith with the government … and then at the eleventh hour, with an election around the corner, Annastacia Palaszczuk and Labor can … pull up stumps,” he told ABC Radio.
Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate, however, will continue his push to have a terminal built on the ocean side of the Spit, at an estimated cost of between $170 and $450 million.
The idea was sparked early last year after the collapse of a Newman government proposal for a combined cruise ship terminal and casino in the Southport Broadwater.
The plan was rejected by the Palaszczuk government in 2015.
Cr Tate said Tuesday’s decision did not change the city council’s intention to put forward a business case for the cruise ship terminal shortly.
“The cruise ship terminal was a mandate that I took to both elections,” he told reporters.
“At the moment council’s working hard on environmental impact studies.
“We’ve got a few business case studies to plan, once they’re complete then I’ll be able to put forward a plan.”
Save Our Broadwater vice-president and former Labor state MP Judy Spence said the mayor already spent $3 million in ratepayer funds on feasibility studies and deviated from his original intended use for the terminal.
“He told us it was only going to be a day port and now he’s committed to building a home port,” Ms Spence told AAP.
“That is quite a different proposition because it involves immigration, it involves fuel depots, involves a whole lot of infrastructure that a day port doesn’t.”
Ms Palaszczuk said council was free to put forward its cruise ship terminal proposal, which will be considered as part of the master plan consultation.
“Of course we want the council to continue their work in relation the oceanside cruise ship terminal,” she told reporters.