Coast casino fight creates unlikely allies
FEDERAL Fisher MP Andrew Wallace (LNP) has found an unlikely ally among Labor voters in his opposition to a casino licence for the Sunshine Coast.
Confirmation Tourism Minister Kate Jones would hold talks over the next month with 10 casino giants interested in investing in Queensland has left Mr Wallace deeply disturbed.
He has been the standard bearer for community opposition to a casino as part of the new SunCentral CBD or anywhere else in the region.
But support was also emerging among Sunshine Coast Labor Party branch members still licking their wounds after failing to secure one of eight seats here at the last state election.
Ms Jones has described the state government's proposed Global Tourism Hubs which include casinos, as "transformative infrastructure" ahead of meetings with MGM Grand, Caesar's Entertainment and others in Las Vegas and Macau during June to discuss their proposals for licences the government has allocated to Cairns and the Gold Coast.
If those meetings would include Malaysian gaming giant NagaCorp, which met with Sunshine Coast Council three times last year about SunCentral CBD opportunities, remained unanswered.
In response to a series of direct questions a spokesman for Ms Jones said only "as previously advised, there is no casino licence available for the Sunshine Coast".
With existing Gold Coast casino operator Star now lobbying the State Government not to issue a second licence in that market, Mr Wallace said he was deeply concerned.
"Star lobbying not to build another Gold Coast casino would free up the licence," he said.
"I fear Mayor Jamieson's public support for a casino will lead to a re-opening of the debate about a casino at SunCentral. The electorate is very against that.
"If the Mayor is so keen for a casino in the CBD he could make it an election issue and run on that platform in 2020.
"The same applies to all those councillors who support a casino. They should declare their hand so people can vote accordingly."
Mr Wallace's view of the electorate's attitude is one shared by Labor Party members.
"There is absolutely no appetite for it whatsoever," former candidate and branch member Bill Gissane said of any push for a casino.
He revealed yesterday past candidates were examining Labor's approach to campaigning on the Sunshine Coast.
A meeting on July 3 would vote on recommendations for issues to form a regional approach to the next state election.
Mr Gissane said opposition to any push for a casino on the Sunshine Coast would be one of those issues.
"There is also a fair bit of disquiet generally about the level of over development we are seeing," he said.
Last month Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said since 2013 he had support the region's consideration for an integrated resort development.
"I think it is exactly the sort of investment that could benefit the Sunshine Coast in terms of the development of our new city," he said.