The Queensland Government has today announced it will seek proposals for an integrated development of the government precinct in Brisbane’s CBD through an Expression of Interest (EOI) process.
The redevelopment could provide new six star hotels, retail, restaurant and entertainment zones, theatre and convention facilities, new open spaces – and a new casino.
Premier Campbell Newman also announced that the State Government would consider making two other casino licences available for major integrated resort developments in other parts of Queensland.
Mr Newman said the Government had considered a range of development scenarios for the redevelopment of Brisbane’s government precinct, which “presents a once in a generation opportunity” for the city.
“Market sounding has indicated the best outcome for the precinct and for the protection of heritage sites will be achieved through an integrated development,” Newman said.
“The Government has decided that a casino licence will be offered in the EOI process to encourage the provision of a world class integrated development in Brisbane’s CBD.
“The Government believes Queensland can sustain up to three new integrated resort casinos and believes there would be strong interest in other parts of the state.”
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the EOI for the government precinct redevelopment would go to the market by the end of the year.
He said such a massive project would deliver significant boosts to both the construction and tourism sectors of the state economy.
“Integrated developments including casinos have proven their ability to increase visitor numbers and stays elsewhere in the world,” Mr Seeney said.
“They are not just casinos as we have previously seen in Queensland; in fact, the casino is only part of these major developments which are tourism drawcards in their own right.
“Singapore’s foreign visitor numbers were declining in 2008 and 2009. When two integrated resorts with casinos (Marina Bay Sands and Resort World Sentosa) opened in 2010 visitor numbers rose by more than 20 per cent.
“The resorts contributed $3.7 billion to Singapore’s gross domestic product during the first nine months of operation, of which only $720 million was attributed to gaming tax.
“We believe the redevelopment of Brisbane’s government precinct could lead to similar benefits for Queensland.
“There is no doubt a project of this scope and size holds enormous potential for the development and tourism sectors, for the residents of Brisbane and visitors to the city.”
Mr Seeney said officers of his department had met with the Singaporean Government regarding the establishment of the resorts in Singapore and they would test the appetite in Asia and North America to enter the EOI for Brisbane.
A Probity Code of Practice will be established for the precinct project and an independent probity adviser will be appointed to oversee the EOI and selection process. The probity adviser appointee will be announced before the process begins.
Mr Seeney said when the EOI for the government precinct was released the government would also release a draft Queensland Casino Policy for public comment.
The policy will guide the state’s future approach to casinos and gaming.
“The policy will consider issues such as market capacity, implications of additional licences on existing and future operations, financial implications for the state, community interests and social implications,” he said.