Casino donors in each way bet
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.