ASF CONSORTIUM STILL BACKING COAST AFTER CRUISE TERMINAL SNUB

Written on the 6 May 2015

ASF CONSORTIUM STILL BACKING COAST AFTER CRUISE TERMINAL SNUB

AFTER spending more than $6 million only to have its plans for a cruise ship terminal demolished by the Palaszczuk government last week, ASF Consortium is still keen to have a crack at building a multi-billion integrated tourism resort on the Gold Coast.

It says the issue now is finding the right site to accommodate it.

Local project director Tim Poole (pictured) has affirmed that ASF Consortium hasn't taken its "bat and ball" and gone home after the state government rebuff.

"There has already been a strong indication (by consortium partners) to stick with it," says Poole.

"There is an understanding that these things take time and that there are setbacks along the way. What they do need at this stage is some certainty and a confirmation from the Queensland Government that they can work with us on a process that is transparent."

The government last week assured ASF that it would consider future proposals from ASF, as long as they didn't involve development on the Broadwater.

Poole says a cruise ship terminal may still be in the mix, but "pretty difficult to deliver" in light of the Broadwater ban.

"I wouldn't say it's completely off the agenda but it's not the focus at the moment," he says.

"The focus is an integrated resort development on another site on the Gold Coast. That's what delivers most of the tourism, economic and jobs benefits. It's a real pity that the cruise ship terminal, which was to be a legacy infrastructure, is unlikely to be delivered. But the real heavy hitter in supporting the Gold Coast is now what we're focused on."

Poole says a new casino will be a key element of any new multibillion-dollar proposal by ASF.

"We've been fairly clear all along that a casino is an integral part of the integrated resort. Even though it will be one of many attractions, it is a commercially important component to underwrite the long-term sustainability of the development."

ASF will look at both brownfield and greenfield sites for a proposed resort project, ideally with a water element.

"As a destination it has to be pretty unique and the importance of water may be something we will decide early on," says Poole.

"But because we are looking at creating lots of different types of attractions and destinations some water element can still be created around it.

"This project has to be of a scale that attracts a new visitor market. That is the underlying philosophy here. In terms of jobs, particularly long-term jobs, it has to be of a similar scale (to the original cruise terminal proposal) to really be valuable to the Gold Coast."

As for the two years already spent on the wave Break Island proposal, including six months of community consultation, Poole says it hasn't all been wasted.

"There's some very valuable information that will be very important going forward, and that is the feedback from the community and what they value the most," he says.

The immediate feedback from the ASF partners in the wake of the government canning the cruise terminal proposal is at odds with some suggestions that it sends the wrong signal to investors eying the Gold Coast.

"The reaffirmation of not only the consortium but its partners represents a strong belief they have in the future of the Gold Coast as an international tourism destination," says Poole.

"Despite the setback last week, there is an unshakable belief that this is the right place in Australia for something like this. It's also very much needed for Queensland meeting the challenge of increased competition for tourism. That has come very strongly to me from consortium members, the value they place on the Gold Coast as a destination."

ASF notes that Queensland is "significantly lagging" behind NSW, Victoria and Western Australia in terms of urban renewal projects in progress.

"The Gold Coast integrated resort is Queensland's biggest urban renewal project available at this time, and it's about delivering a vibrant and dynamic international destination that seamlessly integrates world-class entertainment, gaming, retail, hotel, unique leisure, cultural, residential and outdoor components," says Poole.


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