Oz trade minister wants Aquis project accelerated; South Korea relaxes rules on casino site

TAGs: Andrew Robb, aquis, Australia, Kirby Garlitos, South Korea

Oz trade minister wants Aquis project accelerated; South Korea relaxes rules on casino siteAustralia’s Federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb is putting the full-court pressure on the development of the multi-billion-dollar Aquis project, saying it needs to be accelerated “by whatever means.”

Speaking with ABC Australia after meeting with tourism leaders in Cairns, Robb said that approval from the Queensland government needs to be obtained as soon as possible. Robb suggested that shouldn’t be difficult since the project has already cleared approvals from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Robb added that Aquis’ backer Tony Fung‘s ambition of turning the region into a prime tourist destination is starting to take shape.

“He’s making huge investments into convention centers there,” said the trade minister. “It’s going to be of enormous benefit, thousands of jobs and lots of opportunity and it will be a magnet for other investment.”

Robb’s comments came after Aquis developers made it known that they were looking to bypass the integrated resort development process that the Queensland government requires before giving its approval.

But Robb believes that the development shouldn’t be impeded because of the project’s overall significance to Cairns, adding that businesses in the area should rally behind the project to ensure that it gets the necessary support to push through without any more delays.

Over in South Korea, officials have endorsed a bill that would ease foreign investment conditions in Saemangeum, a plot of reclaimed land in North Jeolla province in the country’s southwest that’s being groomed for a potential foreigners-only casino resort.

Korean news agency Yonhap reported that part of the bill’s purpose was to simplify the registration process for these projects, doing away with an existing caveat that requires casino developments to have at least $500 million of investments and for these casinos to be attached to luxury hotels.

The provincial government in North Jeolla is in the middle of consultations with potential US and Chinese investors about the possibility of developing an integrated resort and casino in the reclaimed area, which has 40,200 hectares of ripe land space for a future casino project.


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