The Anglican Church has slammed the Queensland’s public consultation on The Spit integrated resort development as inconsistent and deceptive.
Expected critics of the project have said the $3 billion development would only add to the negative impacts of gambling which reportedly affect between eight to 17 percent of gamblers on the Gold Coast.
The Dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Dr Peter Catt, said the community consultation was “compromised” and “not impartial”. He also believes it has been conducted in a manner which prompted respondents to answer positively.
The survey requests the public to comment on the “proposed rejuvenation of The Spit parklands, as well as ASF Consortium’s integrated resort development proposal.”
Dr Catt said in a media statement yesterday it ignored “the elephant in the room” that the Spit project was a casino featuring real money games, and not just a resort.
“The ASF Consortium is proceeding on the basis that a casino licence will be part of the development, but the survey does not include a single question about the casino, poker machines or gambling,” said Dr Catt said.
“Given that casinos largely depend on local gamblers for their revenue, and that the Gold Coast has the highest rate of local gamblers of all the casinos in Australia, this is a glaring omission.”
But a statement from the Department of State Development said there were chances for people to oppose the development within the survey, including a space to answer: “how would you describe your position on the proposal?”
Addressing the accusations that the survey was misleading, the department said they chose not to specifically mention the casino since it was just one aspect of the $3 billion proposed development.
“No detail on the ASF Consortium proposal is included in the survey as the independent consultants are not consulting on behalf of the ASF Consortium,” the statement said.
“A link to the ASF Consortium website is provided on the DSD website so any member of the community can access the ASF proposal.
“Additionally, there are opportunities to discuss casino and gambling and any other matters within the online survey. All comments will be received and recorded.”
Dr Catt said there wasn’t a chance for people to identify the negative impacts of the development, despite the department stating there was a comments box where people could voice their concerns freely.
“Despite the nomination of The Spit as a possible location for an IRD, implying alternative locations and/or alternative developments are being considered, the IRD is presented as the only option,” Dr Catt said.
The Donaldson Consulting Group, in charge of the survey results, will compile the findings in a report for stakeholders. the community and the Queensland government to continue the ASF Consortium negotiations over its proposal.
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