There have been some Olympian backflips and twists on negotiations and tactics in recent months as mentioned in my most recent post: Still no Tony?.
Beyond the licence manoeuvres an interesting component of the latest news includes:
Facilities such as a sports stadium could now be built in the inner-city rather than being included in the Aquis site. A revamp of Barlow Park is also possible.This actually begins to address at least some of the quite reasonable concerns that were raised by the town planning expert at the Aquis Aware meeting before Christmas. We may actually be finally entering a more realistic phase.
The Aquis Aware group are still quite right to raise concerns over transparency as the whole exercise has been something of a dogs breakfast. Finally we also have some reality over the funding (re-edited from CP report):
Mr Fung, who has spent more than $15 million on the development, will meet with investors and banks in Hong Kong this week to raise the billions of dollars needed to fund the project.
Mr Fung said he had emphasised "a very tight schedule" because of emerging casino markets in Asia and would meet with investors and banks in Hong Kong this week to raise the money to fund the project.
He said raising the billions of dollars for the project relied on the casino licence. "Aquis relies on a gaming licence to get started," Mr Fung said. "You give me the licence and I say 99 per cent (Aquis goes ahead)."
Mr Fung said he had spent $15 million to date on the project but did not have "a bottomless pit."I think this is the first time other investors have been suggested that the project may not be just an entity of the cuddly "billionaire" Fung Family?
To date it has all seemed too much a PR charade rather than an appropriate process with the Post representing Fung as some kind of deity while the Cairns business community gather around like a South Pacific cargo cult waiting for their treasure to be delivered.
Fung is meeting with the Premier and A-G this week. It is to be hoped there is some insistence on greater transparency around the corporate structure as appropriate for any casino licence in Australia.
Update: A somewhat different aspect reported at the ABC: Aquis threaten to split over licence split