China’s ASF Threatens to Sue Queensland Government Over Rebuffed Casino Bid

Posted on: September 26, 2017, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: September 26, 2017, 05:37h.

The Chinese-backed ASF Consortium has said it is seeking a “suitable and equitable solution” to the government of Queensland, Australia’s decision to jettison its $2.4 billion project on the Gold Coast, a popular tourist destination.

ASF director Louis Chien
ASF director Louis Chien wondered why the Queensland government would go against its own consultation results and the will of the majority in ditching the Gold Coast Casino project. (Image: Gold Coast Bulletin)

Failing that, it will sue, it said this week.

The news comes as ASF delivered its annual report, which revealed it lost around $9.5 million pursuing the project during the last financial year alone, a sum that has been “fully written off,” it said. The consortium posted a £15 million loss for the year as a whole.

The Queensland government sensationally and unexpectedly dumped the casino project August 1, just days after Caesars Entertainment had come on board as operator of the proposed resort, despite ASF having received “preferred proponent” status from the government four years ago.

The project also had the backing of the local populace, by a 54 to 42 percent margin, with 4 percent undecided.

No Tall Buildings … Like Central Park

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her bombshell decision was based on listening to the voices that wanted the area to be conserved for future generations and the conviction that the five hotel towers ASF envisaged would spoil its natural beauty.

“This is a unique site … the equivalent to what Central Park is to New York. It should be preserved for generations,” she said, perhaps not realizing that Central Park is surrounded by many very tall buildings.

The ASF consortium promised that the development, which was to be built on a peninsula known locally as “the Spit,” would create 4,100 construction jobs and a further 9,100 direct and indirect positions, while offering the Gold Coast “widespread economic benefits.”

Contradictory Decision

“The State asked for an ‘iconic’ Integrated Resort Development to ‘put the Gold Coast on the world stage as an international tourism destination,’ to lift ‘the Queensland economy’ and ‘provide confidence to invest in the Gold Coast,’” complained ASF director Louis Chen in an op-ed for the Gold Coast Bulletin last month.

“The State’s decision to terminate the project contradicts its own objectives for the community,” he wrote. “We are left wondering why the Queensland Government would go against its own consultation results, turning its back on a viable project and the will of the majority.”

On Tuesday, Chien told the Australian Associated Press that if negotiations were not able to progress in a “a timely and fair manner,” ASF would be “left with no alternative than to commence legal action.”