Pro­pos­als lodged for Air­lie and La­guna

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

THERE are two bids on the ta­ble for casi­nos in the Whit­sun­day-Mackay re­gion, fol­low­ing a State Govern­ment an­nounce­ment this week that the for­mer La­guna Quays Re­sort was in the mix.

There are a to­tal of three casino li­censes up for grabs – one in Bris­bane and two in re­gional Queens­land.

Each of the de­vel­op­ers has had to pay $100,000 non-re­fund­able fees.

On Tues­day, Deputy Pre­mier and Min­is­ter for State De­vel­op­ment, In­fra­struc­ture and Plan­ning, Jeff Seeney, of­fi­cially named the par­ties who have now lodged ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est for the two re­gional li­censes.

Of the six bid­ders, one is listed as Full­share In­ter­na­tional (Aus­tralia) Pty Ltd, lo­cated 26km south of Proser­pine and an­other is the China Aus­tralia En­trepreneurs As- so­ci­a­tion Inc (CAEAI), who are in­ter­ested in Air­lie Beach.

Whit­sun­day mayor Jennifer Whit­ney said Coun­cil had been build­ing a re­la­tion­ship with the China Aus­tralia En­trepreneurs group, who she de­scribed as “very se­ri­ous about in­vest­ing in the Whit­sun­day re­gion now”.

"It is very ex­cit­ing to have two sub­mis­sions within our re­gion and if ei­ther one of them were to be ap­proved by the Queens­land Govern­ment it would be a huge boost to tourism, jobs and the econ­omy for the Whit­sun­day re­gion," she said.

Whit­sun­days Mar­ket­ing and De­vel­op­ment Limited (WMDL) chair Jim El­der, who has also been li­ais­ing with the CAEAI, said there had been “min­i­mal en­gage­ment” with the other group.

“And frankly the rea­son for that is it doesn’t sit in the Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil area – it’s in the Mackay city boundary,” he said.

Mr El­der was among Whit­sun­day busi­ness people and lo­cal res­i­dents who wel­comed a CAEAI del­e­ga­tion from Yinchuan to Air­lie Beach last week.

This par­tic­u­lar del­e­ga­tion was in­ter­ested in agri­cul­ture and property de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and Mr El­der said “they were very happy with what they saw”.

As for the CAEAI’s casino bid, he said this was a “on­cein-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity for Air­lie”.

Min­is­ter Seeney said all ap­pli­cants would be re­viewed and a short-list would be pre­pared by the mid­dle of this year.

Those short-listed would then sub­mit full pro­pos­als by late this year. Fol­low­ing fi­nal ne­go­ti­a­tions, a de­ci­sion on the gam­ing li­censes is ex­pected by mid-2015.

OP­POR­TU­NITY KNOCKS: Whit­sun­day busi­ness people and res­i­dents, in­clud­ing Jimmy Dun­can (Whit­sun­day Sur­vey­ors Group), Josh Thomp­son (Lat­i­tude De­vel­op­ment Group / Re­gatta Wa­ters), Lester Ri­ley and Doug Haack (WRA), Andrew Telford (Macrossan and Amiet), Ross Plow­man (WRA), Gra­ham Ma­zlin (Leader Group), David Gill­man and David Brooks (WRA), Chris Ja­cobs (Cruise Whit­sun­days), Tony Moscato (WRA), Mark Beale (Ray White Whit­sun­day), Jim El­der (WMDL), Brett Dwyer (NAB) and Tony Lau­rent (Air­lie Beach.com), en­joyed net­work­ing with a Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion from Yinchuan and mem­bers of the China Aus­tralia En­trepreneurs As­so­ci­a­tion Inc (CAEAI), in­clud­ing as­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Ray­mond Wang, at Fish D'Vine last week. The CAEAI are in­volved in one of the re­gion's two casino bids.

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