Queens Wharf Mega Casino
Rethinking the Queen’s Wharf Mega-Casino
The Queen’s Wharf Mega-Casino is one of the biggest private developments in Brisbane’s history. Situated on the CBD riverfront, directly across from South Bank, the footprint of the mega-project is roughly equivalent to at least two Gabba stadiums and is licensed for 2500 poker machines.
As a councillor elected to represent the interests of all Brisbane residents, I feel I have a duty to draw attention to the negative impacts of this severely flawed project, which will shape and influence many aspects of our city.
Casinos are parasitic – they generate little direct benefit to society, sucking wealth out of problem gamblers and their families and exacerbating problems like homelessness and mental illness.
The State Government has spoken a lot about the economic benefits of the casino. But the project’s entire business model revolves around extracting money from gamblers, many of whom will be poorer residents. The social costs will likely far outweigh any short-term economic gain.
The project proponents argue that they will primarily target ‘international high rollers’. However, the hundreds of new poker machine licenses suggest that like other casino projects around Australia, once the initial interest from ‘high rollers’ dies down, most of the revenue will come from targeting middle-class and working class Brisbane gamblers.
Much of the casino will be built on publicly-owned land, which should be used for affordable housing, community services, public green space, and research and education facilities. Handing this land to the casino developer is a case of privatisation by stealth.
I have many more concerns about this project, including its broader social and cultural impacts, its impact on the rough sleepers who live along the river, potential impacts on businesses in other parts of the city and South Bank, and its architectural design flaws.
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Instead of a Mega-Casino
If you are concerned about the casino, the Right to the City Brisbane (a group of local residents that work towards enhancing resident’s control over their city) has launched City-wide campaign to demand that residents have a genuine say in how 13+ hectares of public land in the CBD is developed.
All Brisbane residents are encouraged to join them.
What would you like to see on this 26.8 hectare site in the heart of our city?
Below is an interactive online cork-board. I’d love to hear what people would like to see the public land used for. Click on the pink cross on the bottom right hand corner to add your thoughts. You can add them in text, video or picture form
What else could this publicly-owned land in such a central and accessible location be used for?
A few ideas I have been thinking about are: 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 not-for-profit organisations.