ASF considers legal action against Queensland government

The Spit casino project

The Spit casino projectASF Consortium has confirmed the company is considering taking legal action against the Queensland government after its plans to build a $3 billion integrated resort on the Gold Coast’s Southern Spit were rejected last week.

The plan, which was to build a five-tower development containing a casino, hotel, residential apartments, restaurants, bars and retail spaces, was in the works for three years before Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk put a stop to the development.

The Queensland government had previously selected Chinese-owned ASF Consortium as the preferred developer for The Spit, but after months of consultation with the community, Ms Palaszczuk announced a new master plan for the parkland area would be developed instead. She said the decision to put a halt on the project was driven by public concerns regarding traffic congestion, height restrictions and the potential harm caused by gambling, and that a revised master plan would ensure the area would be preserved for future generations.

In an interview with ABC Radio on Friday, ASF Consortium director Louis Chien said his company had been misled by the Queensland government in a “political game of hide and deceive.”

He declined to say how much money had already been spent on developing the proposal, but that the project would have created 4,500 temporary construction jobs and 8,500 ongoing operational jobs once the integrated resort had opened its doors.

“Nothing is off the table, including legal action,” Mr Chien said. “Needless to say, we’re still in shock and deeply disappointed with this government and its snap decision this week.

He said abandonment of the project was a “devastating blow” to investor confidence in Queensland and that it was too early to say whether ASF would consider submitting a new development to the state government.

“I think this decision brings in to question why would any sensible investor, who has choices of where to invest — and the world is a small place these days, you have a lot of choices in terms of where you can invest — even fathom coming in to Queensland under such an uncertain climate?

“No doubt this decision has and will continue to send shock waves throughout the business community, both onshore and offshore with the eyes of the world watching this high profile project.”

Ms Palaszczuk has refused to say whether ASF is entitled to any kind of financial compensation after the proposal was rejected. She said she has only received positive feedback over her decision to preserve The Spit.

ASF was previously granted a license to operate the second casino on the Gold Coast, adding to the growing list of casinos in Queensland. Now that ASF’s proposal has been rejected, industry insiders are starting to speculate that other developers may come forward to apply for the casino license.

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