The Whitsundays could soon be the hub of Chinese investment in Australia with proposals for a casino, entertainment precinct and a temple in the works.
The China Australia Entrepreneurs Association and the Zelong Group from Macau met with the Whitsunday Regional Council in Proserpine on Friday to sign an agreement to work together to secure a regional casino licence.
The investors estimate the total financial package to be worth $10 billion to the region.$10 bloody billion I tell you! A quick look doesn't seem to throw up much more transparency on Zelong Group than we have on Fung? It may however throw some illumination on the recent noise and bluster over delays to the timing of Aquis.
There was speculation on intentions when the bid was made for Reef Casino about whether or not the licence could be moved or otherwise cover Aquis. During the Premier's visit to Cairns to quell the 'Aquis uprising' (with demands to fast-track the process and even some suggestions it could provoke a separate state) he was quite clear about this in his comments on radio:
"But the other thing is that people may or may not be aware that the Fung Family are also involved in a bid for essentially the licence at The Reef Hotel Casino. Now I have no problem whatsoever as long as they pass the normal probity requirements, if they end up successfully acquiring that – and this is all speculation – but if they were to acquire that and wanted to move that to up to Yorkeys Knob, well that’s a way of fast-tracking that part of the process."Aquis haven't indicated that they will pursue this but rather will participate in the process for three new 'integrated resort' casinos in Queensland despite any "red tape" delay. An obvious reason why they would pursue this route is that the Premier's helpful suggestion could imply additional competition with four rather than three new casino resorts?
Moving the Reef licence would still mean a total of seven in Queensland. However that would potentially make room for three new licences besides Aquis rather than two. There would still be seven total but four new 'resorts' rather than three. The assumption until now was for the two regional licences to be split between Cairns and the Gold Coast with the third designated for Brisbane.
If I were Fung I wouldn't want any additional competition especially as close potentially as the Whitsundays. Would it be too cynical to contemplate this as motivation behind the recent bluster?