Showing posts with label Cairns. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cairns. Show all posts

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Move over James Packer

While it's all over bar the shouting with James Packer's proposed $1.1B casino for high rollers at Barangaroo getting the go-ahead, he will have fierce competition in Cairns.
the proposed Barangaroo Packer Casino and hotel...  and Tony Fung's proposed Acquis Resort in Cairns
Chinese tycoon Tony Fung wants to build a A$4.4 billion casino and resort in Cairns,
James Packer                   Tony Fung
close to the Great Barrier Reef, which is bound to  accelerate competition in the country's gambling and tourism market particularly the fierce attempts to lure 'whales', the high spenders.

The Queensland state government announced two weeks ago that Fung's casino proposal was declared a "coordinated project", the first step in the government's approval process.
"Basically it's declared a coordinated project because of the size and complexity of it," a spokesman for the Queensland state government told Reuters. "It's the first step in a comprehensive assessment of the approval process. The proponent has to prepare an environmental impact statement."
 The Aquis Resort at the Great Barrier Reef has a targeted opening of 2018 and is said will create 26,700 jobs when fully operational, according to information on Aquis' website. The resort is also set to include 13,500 square metres of high-end retail and two 2,500-seat theatres.
Fung, a Hong Kong based private investment banker and investor, has homes in Queensland including a house in the Noosa Hinterland. His private businesses include a cattle farm and wagyu beef breeding business and a sugar cane plantation.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Knives Out After Oprah Winfrey Trip

She held the country in the palm of her hand for 10 days. (Or should that be the local media ?)
Oprah Winfrey's tour of Australia and the recording of what will be her final 2 shows at the Sydney Opera House was treated by the Aussie media like the second coming.

When the Social Shuttle reported that 12 of her security detail had been sacked without pay because one had the temerity to enter her hotel room to check that it was secure, only 2 tabloid reporters followed up the tale.

Despite us being unable to give our source (protected) we did hand them on to the local law firm acting for Winfrey's Harpo company. They denied the tale but within a day the 12 guards were told they would be paid after all. The Shuttle witnessed documents that confirmed the story.

Now an American who has been living in Cairns and operating two successful tour boats around the Great Barrier Reef is hopping mad.

John "The Yank" VandenHeuvel  says he approached Tourism Australia 6 years ago with an ambitious plan to bring Oprah Winfrey to Australia. And the outline of his plans were basically identical to Oprah's tour as it unfolded over her 10 day visit. VandenHeuval proposed tying in Oprah's visit with Qantas and their ambassador, actor John Travolta and rewarding a number of Oprah's regular audience members with the "trip of a lifetime"

Backing VandenHeuval's claim is the Opposition Immigration spokesman Scott Morrison who was the head of Tourism Australia at the time. Pilot Dennis Wallace says he flew Morrison to Cairns to discuss the project which was common knowledge amongst the majority of local tour operators.

 “Tourism Australia has done the wrong thing, it is very un-Australian,” says Mr Wallace.

It is not about the money, this is about Tourism Australia blatantly lying,” says VandenHeuval
“They reneged on the deal, cut me out of it and cut Cairns out of it and Cairns ended up getting screwed as bad as I did.”

VandenHeuval says he spent $200,000 on the project and while Tourism Australia acknowledged to the Shuttle that they had met with him in 2004 they declined to discuss details.

VandenHeuval has instructed high powered solicitors Slater and Gordon to issue proceedings against the government body and is claiming  $2Million in damages.