Casino donors in each way bet

FOR­MER HOSPI­TAL

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - THE CHIPS ARE DOWN PAUL WE­STON paul.we­ston@news.com.au

GOLD Coast-based casino op­er­a­tors and de­vel­op­ers have had a bet each way by do­nat­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars to both the La­bor Gov­ern­ment and the LNP.

The Bul­letin can re­veal the ASF con­sor­tium, which had pro­posed an in­te­grated casino re­sort on The Spit, has do­nated more than $75,000 to the LNP and La­bor since late 2015.

Five do­na­tions were made to the LNP and two to La­bor, with $10,000 in June last year fol­lowed by al­most $6000 four months later.

The gov­ern­ment on July 31 an­nounced it had aban­doned the $3 bil­lion five tower project by the Chi­nese-based con­sor­tium, opt­ing for a three-storey height limit and mas­ter­plan at The Spit.

ASF had spent “tens of mil­lions of dol­lars” in the past four years on plan­ning its projects and af­ter the de­ci­sion in­di­cated it would con­sider launch­ing a multi-mil­lion dol­lar law­suit.

Asked about the do­na­tions yes­ter­day, ASF di­rec­tor Louis Chien in a state­ment told the Bul­letin: “ASF has al­ways and will al­ways fully com­ply with po­lit­i­cal do­na­tion laws.”

Other searches by the Bul­letin re­vealed The Star En­ter­tain­ment, which op­er­ates the Broad­beach casino, had pro- vided $79,394 in fund­ing to po­lit­i­cal par­ties dur­ing 2016-17.

Up to 11 do­na­tions listed with the Queens­land Elec­toral Com­mi­sion show the do­na­tions di­vided be­tween the par­ties – La­bor re­ceiv­ing $42,987 and the LNP $33,408.

A spokesper­son for The Star En­ter­tain­ment Group told the Bul­letin: “As a cor­po­rate leader, we at­tend fundrais­ing din­ners and var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal events, in­clud­ing some at our Queens­land prop­er­ties, that in­volve both gov­ern­ment and Op­po­si­tion.

“These often in­volve tak­ing ta­bles at speaker events. All are re­ported with full trans­parency and in ac­cor­dance with dis­clo­sure re­quire­ments.”

Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk said her Gov­ern­ment was mov­ing swiftly on the Op­er­a­tion Bel­carra re­port, in­tro­duc­ing an im­me­di­ate ban on de­vel­oper do­na­tions.

The new leg­is­la­tion refers to a “pro­hib­ited donor” which in­cluded a prop­erty de­vel­oper and their close as­so­ciates, along with re­lated cor­po­ra­tions di­rec­tors and their spouses.

The ban does not in­clude union do­na­tions.

Searches show the CFMEU pro­vide 18 do­na­tions to the ALP in 2016-17 to­talling al­most $82,000. The strong United Voice union pro­vided al­most $297,000 do­na­tions in the same pe­riod. THE Gold Coast’s sec­ond casino should be built on the Glit­ter Strip and not at South­port, State Par­lia­ment has been told.

South­port MP Rob Mol­hoek, in a speech to the House about the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment, an­nounced he op­posed a move by Mayor Tom Tate for the re­sort de­vel­op­ment on Crown land fronting the Broad­wa­ter park­lands.

The plan has since been ditched by Cr Tate.

“South­port is not the right place for a casino on the Gold Coast,” Mr Mol­hoek told Par­lia­ment. If the Coast was to have another casino the more ap­pro­pri­ate lo­ca­tion would be on the Glit­ter Strip “some­where be­tween Surfers Par­adise and Broad­beach”.

Mr Mol­hoek said sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant sport­ing clubs and com­mu­nity clubs, which were part of the South­port Liquor Ac­cord, op­posed hav­ing a casino in the sub­urb. Among them were the South­port Sharks, the Musgrave Hills Bowls Club, the South­port Yacht Club and the Main Beach Surf Life­sav­ing Club.

“In the strong­est pos­si­ble terms I want to place on the pub­lic record my con­cern and my ab­so­lute ob­jec­tion to this casino be­ing de­vel­oped in South­port,” Mr Mol­hoek said.

“South­port has been ear­marked by pre­vi­ous state gov­ern­ments in­clud­ing the LNP gov­ern­ment and coun­cil as the cen­tre for knowl­edge, busi­ness and health, and that is what South­port needs to be.”

South­port MP Rob Mol­hoek.

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