The Queensland state government has come under fire for failing to reach a deal with Star Entertainment Group over the latter’s AU$2 billion Gold Coast masterplan and AU$100 million convention center renovation.
Ray Stevens, opposition member for Mermaid Beach, located just a few minutes south of The Star Gold Coast, told The Gold Coast Bulletin the government had missed an opportunity to boost the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to seek out operators to develop a Global Tourism Hub, including a second Gold Coast casino.
Star has outlined its own plan to invest a further AU$2 billion into the Gold Coast, as well as upgrading the aging Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, but wants a 30-year exclusivity agreement before it proceeds.
“I cannot believe the … Government’s financial incompetency of not grabbing Star casino’s offer of AU$100 million to expand the Gold Coast Convention Centre last year, when it was on offer,” Stevens said.
“In return for exclusivity of casino operation on the Gold Coast for 30 years we would have got an upgraded convention center which will be sorely needed when we come through this coronavirus catastrophe.”
Among the global gaming firms to be previously linked with the Global Tourism Hub concept are Hard Rock International, Genting Malaysia and Caesars Entertainment Group, however Stevens suggested that a realistic candidate “never existed, was never identified.”
“We could have had a signed Convention Centre expansion contract for AU$100 million by Star Entertainment Group which would have given tradies, builders and tourism operators something to look forward to when we come through this COVID-19 tunnel,” he said.
Queensland Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones told the Gold Coast Bulletin that it didn’t believe Star’s offer was in the “best interests of the Gold Coast.”
However, IAG understands negotiations between the government and Star Entertainment Group are ongoing.