Hong Kong business tycoon and billionaire Tony Fung Wing Cheung had earlier committed to investing significantly into Australia as he believed the casino industry down under had enormous potential. Fung had committed to build a mega-casino resort in Cairns, Queensland that was expected to have a budget of US $5.7 billion, which is the equivalent to $8 billion AUD.
The proposed Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort in Cairns is expected to bring in significant revenue to Queensland but there have been opposition from numerous parties who were against the mega-casino. The previous Liberal National Party state government was not happy over the terms and conditions of the proposal and stalled the process earlier this year. This did not go down well with Fung who decided to withdraw from the project in February 2015.
The new Labor Party administration in Queensland managed to work out the differences with Fung and his team. Queensland’s state treasurer Curtis Pitt recently confirmed that Fung has once again committed to the Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort and has signed an integrated resort development (IRD) process confirming his commitment.
In a statement, Curtis Pitt said “Following the election [in February 2015], the Palaszczuk government sought to engage in positive discussions with Mr Fung and we welcome his company’s commitment to re-entering the IRD process,” Mr Pitt said, referring to the current Labor Party administration in Queensland of premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. The IRD process is a rigorous way to protect the community’s interests and also evaluate Aquis’ credentials and financial capacity to deliver this project.”
The Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort will have as many as 7,500 hotel rooms, a water park, a golf course, restaurants and a massive gaming area. The casino is expected to create thousands of jobs for locals during the construction phase and once the casino goes live, an additional 16,000 jobs could be created in Queensland. The casino will also become one of Queensland’s star attractions and will help to boost tourism in the region.
The first phase of the project is expected to cost around AUD $3.5 billion and the Queensland state government is eager to receive a detailed proposal document outlining the different phases of the project. A representative of the Queensland government said that it would soon send out a Request for Proposal to Aquis along with a 20 business day deadline for the company to respond.
Once the government receives the detailed proposal from Aquis, it will then run a number of assessments to confirm if the proposal submitted by Aquis meets all the demands of Casino Control Act. The Queensland’s Department of State Development and the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation will also run an assessment to determine if probity and development facilities.