What is Queen’s Wharf Brisbane?
On 28 January 2016, the Queensland Government approved the Queen's Wharf Brisbane Priority Development Area (PDA) which means that the publicy owned land between George Street and the Brisbane River and Alice Street and Queen Street (including as well as 41 and 63 George Street) has been given to private developers (on a 99 year lease). The private company who now owns some 7% of our CBD is Destination Brisbane Consortium (DBC) consisting of Echo Entertainment Group Limited (now The Star Entertainment Group Limited), Far East Consortium (Australia) Pty Limited and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited).
The area includes a number of heritage places including the existing Treasury Casino & Hotel and government owned and leased buildings, local roads, riverfront land, and a portion of the Riverside Expressway and the Brisbane River. The proposed new mixed use integrated resort development will potentially comprise new accommodation including hotels, retail, restaurant and entertainment zones, tourism facilities and new open spaces
How will the development be assessed?
Background information including economic analyses, market research, feasibility studies, social impact studies and site analysis either is not publically accessible or has not been conducted.
Queen’s Wharf Casino will not undergo the same development assessment process as other developments in our city. It will not be assessed against the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 nor the Brisbane City Plan 2014.
It is considered a Priority Development Area (PDA) and will be assessed by Economic Development Queensland (a unit within the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning) against the Economic Development Act 2012 and the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane PDA Development Scheme.
What do we already know about gambling in Queensland?
Australians spent more than $19 billion on gambling in 2008-09; around $12 billion of which was spent playing the pokies.
Up to 500,000 Australians are at risk of becoming, or are, problem gamblers.
The annual social cost to the community of problem gambling is estimated to be at least $4.7 billion a year.
The actions of one problem gambler negatively impacts the lives of between five and 10 others.
This means there are up to five million Australians who could be affected by problem gambling each year, including friends, family and employers of people with a gambling problem.
Only around 15 per cent of problem gamblers seek help.
Queensland currently has twice the amount of pokie machines per capita than Victoria. Research has shown that increasing the amount of pokie machines within a geographical area, increases the average losses per adult to gambling.
Extensive research into gambling has also revealed that disadvantage is itself a predictor of the extent of poker machine losses. Problem gambling affects the unemployed and working class communities the most.
The Queen's Wharf Mega Casino is class warfare and inter-generational theft on an enormous scale. Queenslanders will lose millions of dollars to 2500 pokie machines designed to extract maximum value from problem gamblers who are statistically more likely to be from working class backgrounds.
What else could this publicly-owned land in such a central and accessible location be used for?
Community services, research and education facilities, affordable housing, public green space, a public square, music and arts venues, a science and innovation precinct, office space for non-profit organisations.
Brisbane deserves better than the Queens Wharf mega-casino