panel urges reopening Christmas Island casino - 25th
Christmas Island would see a boost to its economy
if a casino venue were allowed to reopen, an Australian
parliamentary committee said in a report published
and senators on Canberras joint standing committee
into Australias Indian Ocean Territories
the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island
recommends that the Australian federal government
commit to reopening a casino on Christmas Island
and establish the necessary policy, legislative and
regulatory frameworks to allow for this without delay.
report on economic development also suggested that
the federal governments Department of Infrastructure
and Regional Development should conduct an appropriate
process to assess proposals to operate a casino from
private sector proponents.
Australian Associated Press first reported the news.
May, Christmas Islands shire president Gordon
Thomson called for a casino licence, after the federal
government announced it would close down an asylum
seeker detention centre on the island. Mr Gordon said
a casino would help support the islands economy
in the face of an expected slowdown of activity in
its immigration detention facilities and in phosphate
Christmas Island Hotel and Resort (pictured) was originally
opened as a casino in December 1993, but it stopped
operating the gaming venue in 1998, citing a number
of reasons including cancellation of various Asian
air services, management disputes and issues regarding
overall profitability. Soft Star Pty Ltd purchased
the resort in May 2000.
2004, the countrys Minister for Local Government,
Territories and Roads announced that the government
would prohibit casino operations in the Indian Ocean
in Tuesdays report, the committee concluded
there had been a lack of transparency and accountability
in relation to the decision to prohibit casino operations
on Christmas Island, and recommended that the government
review its 2004 decision.
report also stressed the consistent community
support for the reopening of the casino, which
could boost tourism by attracting more Asian visitors
and deliver economic and other benefits to the community.
committee however said the federal government should
seek expressions of interest from potential casino
operators, which should help determine whether
competitive tender is appropriate in this case.