Panel will ‘definitely’ have say in second casino location

THE Gold Coast group appointed to advise the State Government about the global tourism hub will need to make a call about the potential sites on the Glitter Strip.

Residents protesting after becoming aware that Carey Park was one of the 11 secret sites feared the advisory group would not have any input on potential locations.

Southport protesters have had their first private meeting with Gold Coast Tourism Advisory Panel chair John Witheriff where they received a lengthy hearing.

Aerial view of Carey Park at Southport. Picture: Glenn Hampson.
Aerial view of Carey Park at Southport. Picture: Glenn Hampson.

"The committee is not to make a recommendation on a site. The Government is inviting proponents to nominate any site they like," a resident said.

But The Bulletin can reveal the Government expects the panel, given the controversy about the potential leasing of public-owned land at Carey Park, will provide feedback.

"If the site becomes a contentious issue, they will definitely be asked their opinion on it," a government insider said.

The panel's input would "prevent bureaucrats in Brisbane (solely) making decisions on where, and how it will be allowed".

Eddy Sarroff (far right) talking to Southport residents about their protest against a second Gold Coast casino.
Eddy Sarroff (far right) talking to Southport residents about their protest against a second Gold Coast casino.

"We haven't put any parameters around what they (the panel) will be asked," the insider said.

Carey Park is considered the only workable and world class location by leading consortiums given its access to both light rail and the Broadwater Parklands.

The Government will close expressions of interest later this month, go to expressions of interest in May, review the bids during June and July before making a call on the integrated resort and casino by October.

Veteran Southport councillor Dawn Crichlow who attended the meeting with Mr Witheriff said she viewed casinos as revenue making machines for the government.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones with Tony Cochrane, Meaghan Scanlon, Annaliese Battista and Chris Mills at the casino announcement. Picture: Glenn Hampson.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones with Tony Cochrane, Meaghan Scanlon, Annaliese Battista and Chris Mills at the casino announcement. Picture: Glenn Hampson.

"I just told him that people don't need another casino. It's pure revenue for the government, and nobody wants it," Cr Crichlow said.

Residents voiced concerns about the lack of parkland in Southport and the impact of new high rise developments being approved because the CBD was a priority development area.

Resident leader Eddy Sarroff said Mr Witheriff gave them a good hearing with the meeting an important opportunity to outline their concerns.

"I remain concerned at the process whereby proponents will be invited to submit their expressions of interest for the IRD, and only one site has been revealed which is Carey Park," he said.

"This will indeed position Carey Park as the bidding site as it is the only site that has been publicly revealed whilst the other 10 sites remain under wrap.

"This process is flawed and if the State Government is honest, open, and transparent they will immediately release the other 10 sites. It also reinforces what the local community believe and that it's a decision has already been made."

The Bulletin understands residents are poised to ramp up their campaign which involves advertising and park protests.

"The local community will continue to expose the shortcomings of this process and will stand firm on protecting this magnificent parcel of open space, our land," Mr Sarroff said.


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