HONG Kong billionaire Tony Fung is privately lobbying the Newman Government for support to build a $3 billion Macau-style casino and five-star resort complex in tropical north Queensland.
His grand vision is to build a new casino, five luxury hotels, the biggest aquarium in the southern hemisphere, a golf course, residential villas and lagoons on a beachside site in Cairns.
The Hong Kong banker, from one of Asia's wealthiest families, is the latest high roller to make a bid for a new casino licence in Queensland and has recruited former premier Rob Borbidge to head negotiations.
Justin Fung, chief executive of Australian Group Investments, in a Sunday Mail exclusive, has confirmed the Fung Family secured a five-year option over a 283ha parcel of land at Yorkeys Knob, north of Cairns.
"We look forward to engaging with all stakeholders to ensure any development is sympathetic to the site and the region and provides a much-needed boost to the Queensland tourism industry," he said.
Under the plan, the former site of the failed 1980s mega-style resort Rainbow Harbour development will be transformed from existing canefields into a multi-structure casino similar to those in Macau and Las Vegas.I'm not sure a Las Vegas style casino sounds overwhelmingly sympathetic to the location, or the image and tourism branding of Tropical North Queensland. I suspect community response may be mixed.
The report of Barron River MP Michael Trout as a "driving force behind the project" is also interesting given the adjacent interest in Blazing Saddles at Yorkeys? One would have thought Trouty may have a not insignificant conflict of interest?
Update: The Cairns Post has now caught up with its News Ltd brethren in reporting the casino proposal. Always interesting to observe the subtle differences and no mention here of Las Vegas or Macau!
The "driving force" Trouty is reported here as not privy to the size or scale of the project? Rather the focus is on the proposal for the largest aquarium in the southern hemisphere. Will that have consequences for the currently proposed city aquarium?
Update: Mining boom over! All heil the casino gambling boom?