'Confused' MP is 'scare-mongering': Mayor slams anti-casino petition
UPDATE: Mayor Mark Jamieson has labelled Andrew Wallace as "obviously confused by the process" after the federal MP launched a Say No to Council's Casino petition.
Cr Jamieson said the private sector, not council made an application for a casino licence, and any licence must be approved by the State Government.
"Council wants a high-end international standard hotel with convention, exhibition and conference facilities located in a world-class, brand new city centre, all integral to attracting the right investor, constructor and operator and ultimately attracting the high-end tourist market," Cr Jamieson said.
"We want to keep our options open and a casino, while a small part of that offering, is fundamental to an Integrated Resort Development and would help provide the business model to attract those partners.
"The Sunshine Coast has sadly been lacking a new five-star offering for the past 30 years and is now attracting extraordinary interest because investors can see the potential opportunities.
Would you support a casino for the new Maroochydore CBD?
This poll ended on 07 December 2017.
No. It is a threat to the community and the Coast's tourism brand.
Yes, we need to expand our tourism appeal and it would create jobs.
I'm not sure.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"Mr Wallace is scare-mongering and depriving Sunshine Coast of a major five-star international hotel opportunity which will provide economic benefits, create skilled jobs, provide shows and entertainment, and meet the growing tourist demand.
"After all, why is it good enough to have a casino in Canberra where he conducts his own work every week, but not right for the Sunshine Coast?
"And perhaps Mr Wallace could tell us how bad the organised crime is in Canberra.
"He also appears to be at odds with his own party. The LNP has supported an Integrated Resort Development on Great Keppel Island and with Michelle Landry and Matt Canavan very vocal, and claimed the Queen's Wharf IRD as a "great LNP legacy".
"And in the lead up to the most recent State Government election, the LNP said it would 'open up expressions of interest for up to two regional casino licences within the first 100 days in office'.
"'The LNP's Integrated Resort Development policy will build a better tourism industry and create thousands of construction and tourism jobs,' the LNP website says.
"But apparently, not for our Sunshine Coast. Whilst a jewel in the State's crown we lack high-end international hotels, restaurants, shopping, shows and major events.
"I also question why he has started this petition when it is not in his Federal seat.
"Rather than putting his energy into a petition to council for an issue we have no jurisdiction over, I encourage Mr Wallace to get on with the job of being a Federal Member, fighting for better infrastructure on the Sunshine Coast including further upgrades to the Bruce Highway and contributing towards the North Coast Rail Line duplication and working with ACMA to grant the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Cable Protection zone which will benefit residents across the Sunshine Coast and Queensland."
YESTERDAY: A petition calling on residents to say no to any plans for a casino in the Maroochydore CBD has been launched by Federal Fisher MP Andrew Wallace who has described it has one of the biggest threats to the community's future.
The 'Say No to Council's Casino' petition follows Sunshine Coast Daily reports that a group of executives from Malaysian gambling giant Nagacorp had visited SunCentral earlier this month.
Mr Wallace has pledged to fight any proposal for a casino at every stage.
"I believe that the council's plan to change the character of the Sunshine Coast by building a casino at their Maroochydore development is emerging as one of the biggest threats to the future of our community," Mr Wallace said.
"A casino on the Coast would add to the cost of living pressures on many of our hard-working families, increase crime and anti-social behaviour, and drive up drug and alcohol abuse.
"This plan risks driving more family breakdowns, and increasing rates of mental and physical ill health."
Mr Wallace said a casino would not be in keeping with the relaxed family-friendly environment that made the Sunshine Coast world renowned and would it would cause irreparable harm to the social fabric of the community.
The petition calls for the Sunshine Coast Council, via its wholly-owned development company SunCentral, to abandon its plans to establish a casino in SunCentral.
Mr Wallace said family life was difficult enough in modern times without the compounding impact from 'establishing more mechanisms of misery'.
"I have spoken to many local people about this at meetings around our community and the feedback I have received tells me that Sunshine Coast residents do not want a casino here," he said.
"We are not the Gold Coast, nor should we want to be. I strongly encourage everyone to sign my petition and to get involved." he said.
Concerned residents can sign the petition, which will be delivered by Mr Wallace to the Sunshine Coast Council, by going to:
"If the House always wins, our community will be the biggest loser. Please join with me to ensure that this House never gets out of the ground." Mr Wallace said.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson has been contacted for comment.