CRUISE TERMINAL TEST FOR LABOR'S COMMITMENT TO JOBS
2 February 2015, Written by Nick Nichols
AN incoming Labor Government, which has wooed Queensland voters with the mantra of "jobs, jobs, jobs", will face its first test on the Gold Coast once it is sworn in when it reveals its intentions for the proposed cruise ship terminal.
ASF Consortium, the proponent for the $6.5 billion project, has affirmed its commitment to continue its public consultation process in the wake of the LNP's stunning electoral defeat over the weekend.
"ASF Consortium believes this project is the best proposal to re-invigorate the local economy through billions of dollars in local spend and creating thousands of new jobs for locals," says project director Tim Poole. "The consortium stands firm on its commitment to deliver the project and bring its vision to life."
As voting continues following the weekend election, a spokesman for Labor leader and likely Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk would only point to a September media release to indicate the incoming government's policy on the project.
The September 2014 media release in which Palaszczuk says plans for development of Wavebreak Island should be "ripped up for good".
Last month, ahead of a rally opposing the cruise ship terminal, Palaszczuk reaffirmed that "Labor is on the record with its stand against the development of Wavebreak Island".
However, despite her stand and the vocal campaign opposing the cruise ship terminal, Labor failed to topple sitting LNP members at the weekend. Labor appears unlikely to win any seats from the LNP on the Gold Coast, although Gaven, which was held by Independent MP Alex Douglas, is still in some doubt.
While some are claiming the swing against the LNP as a victory against the Broadwater proposal, the feedback received by ASF Consortium would indicate the issue wasn't a burning one for Gold Coasters.
"From our consultation to date, weekly data continues to trend at between 60-70 per cent of the Gold Coast community in favour of this project, including the Broadwater electorate," says Poole.
"He says a large proportion of those undecided that we believe are awaiting more detailed information that can only eventuate through the EIS and planning consultation phases."
Rather than a cruise ship terminal, Palaszczuk has pinned her hopes on the Gold Coast's future in surfing tourism by creating a world surfing reserve between the NSW border and Burleigh "to help protect and expand the region's $1.4 billion industry supporting 20,000 jobs".
"By protecting this local asset we are protecting the economy and protecting jobs," she says.
ASF Consortium has estimated the cruise ship terminal would contribute more than $21 billion to the Gold Coast economy and create about 5000 jobs during construction and more than 15,000 jobs on completion.
The development, which will include an integrated casino-resort and residential towers, is expected to attract an extra 1.9 million visitors to the Gold Coast per annum, adding an extra eight million visitor nights to the city's tourism sector.
If approvals can be secured, construction is expected to begin by 2017.
Author: Nick Nichols