It may be a “two birds with one stone’ scenario for Justin Fung if the Queensland government approves his proposal for an $8 billion resort casino in Cairns, and is granted a Gold Coast casino license for the business’s Sheraton Mirage hotel. His father, Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung is confident it will happen.
The approval process has already been streamlined by the government for the Aquis project which was given preferred developer status for a regional casino at Cairns in Yorkeys Knob in 2014. However, delays in progress have given way to questions of whether the project will actually proceed. The previous government said approval would be granted if all other approvals were satisfied, but under the current Palaszczuk Labor government progress has been slow going.
Reluctant to speculate on a time frame for approval, Mr. Fung was hopeful talks between Aquis and necessary government departments would be productive and secure the needed probity clearance approvals. He added, “The government process [to acquire a casino license] was set up for the Brisbane license, which was a competitive process,” and that “Being in the north, without another project in the works, means there is some discussion about finding other ways of tackling the process, and that is where we are at now.”
In July, the Queensland government granted Echo Entertainment the bid for a $2 billion Queen’s Wharf casino and came to land the deal agreement with AFS Group, a foreign investment company based in Australia, for integrated resort casino next to Sea World on the Gold Coast just two weeks after that.
The family would also like to purchase the Gold Coast’s Sheraton Mirage hotel which is within a mile of ASF’s proposed site on Wave Break Island at Southport, and will probably apply for licensure if ASF’s proposal is rejected. Mr. Fung said, “We obviously respect ASF’s rights on the Gold Coast, but we do believe we have the potential to put together a really impressive project if the process does open up at some point, and the Sheraton could be a site we could look at. We are keeping our options open.”
A golf course, theaters, convention spaces, a casino and more than 7,000 hotel rooms would be included in the proposed Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort.