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  • Renee Cluff

    Email Renee Cluff

    Three firms shortlisted to develop Cairns Global Tourism Hub

    The Reef Hotel Casino could merge with another firm in its bid to develop the $1 billion Cairns Global Tourism Hub.

    The State Government has revealed there are three short-listed proponents, which include the Reef Casino Joint Venture, the Star Entertainment Group and Hard Rock International.

    Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said to have three highly-respected players keen to take this game-changing project forward was a vote of confidence in Tropical North Queensland.

    “Our vision is simple – to create a world-class tourism hub in Tropical North Queensland that attracts more international and domestic tourists, who stay longer and spend more in the region,” she said.

    “That means more jobs for Queenslanders, especially in Cairns.

    “In addition to the tourism benefits, a Global Tourism Hub will transform Cairns – linking the Cruise Ship Terminal, the Cairns Convention Centre and the CBD."

    According to the Cairns Post, two of the firms are in discussions to merge their bids.

    A spokesperson for The Star Entertainment Group said while they couldn’t discuss the bidding process, the market in Cairns is only big enough for one casino.

    “We do not believe there is room for two casinos in Cairns or Gold Coast," the spokesperson said.

    “The long-term Australian structure of one casino per city is based on economic common sense.

    "It is a delicately balanced market structure.”

    Bidders are now required to lodge fully-developed proposals with the State Government by July, as part of an interactive tender process.

    A formal announcement on the successful developer and their development scheme is not expected until late 2019 or early 2020.