Great Keppel Island.
Great Keppel Island. Contributed

Hopes high GKI casino gamble will win LNP support

A PUSH for a casino on Great Keppel Island looked set to be vetoed at the LNP state convention on Friday until Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg stepped in.

Paul Lancaster from the Keppel electorate LNP branch put forward a motion for the party to adopt a policy that casino licences should be approved based on business cases.

He believes the Queensland Government should judge casino applications on their merits, rather than putting a number on how many casino licences can be given out.

If the motion is successful and the LNP is re-elected, Tower Holdings could be one step closer to getting a casino licence for its proposed $2 billion Great Keppel Island resort.

The resort has received development approval.

But the Queensland Government has maintained another gaming licence would not be granted unless one of the two approved regional licensees no longer went ahead with their planned casinos.

Mr Lancaster told hundreds of fellow LNP members GKI desperately needed the casino and "palm trees and golden sands aren't cutting it anymore" for tourists.

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry backed the motion, saying it was something the community wanted to see go ahead.

She said the region felt poorly treated after the Newman Government knocked back the push for a casino and the Palaszczuk Government has maintained that stance.

But the motion struggled to gain traction with more conservative members who were concerned it was too broad and could open the floodgates for casinos statewide.

One person argued casinos could only be financially viable if they had money from addicted gamblers.

But Rockhampton LNP branch member Bridie Luva, who earlier this year lost to incumbent MP Billy Byrne, said a casino would attract investment for the region and could mean 1500 more jobs.

Mr Springborg took the extraordinary step of suggesting the motion be removed and narrowed down although LNP rules dictate amendments must be completed outside of debate.

He left the podium to gather in a huddle with Mr Lancaster, Ms Landry and former deputy premier Jeff Seeney to discuss the casino licence.

Ms Landry said the amended version would be isolated to casino licences on islands.

She and Mr Lancaster are confident it will garner more support when it comes before members on Saturday.

- APN NEWSDESK



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