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Queen's Wharf Casino Opens

Queen's Wharf Casino Opens Despite Unstudied Community Impact Study


The long-awaited Queens Wharf Brisbane complex is due to open in 2024, but the Palaszczuk government has not commissioned or completed an independent and complete study of its impact on the community.

The absence of research labeled "disgraceful":

Leading gambling researcher, Dr Charles Livingstone of Monash University, has labeled the failure of the aforementioned state-sponsored research to show how Star Entertainment's latest casinos can affect gambling patterns, vulnerable individuals or Brisbane crime as "disgraceful." In this regard, he said, "I think it's an attempt by the government to avoid unpleasant news."

In addition, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has received more than $2 million from Queensland to produce a basic report on topics such as gambling and safety impact, connectivity, and tourism. The report will provide future data to compare with existing reports as soon as Queenswarp officially opens.

Issues that hinder further research:

However, as The Brisbane Times reported last week, the future phase of the aforementioned study was abandoned in its most comprehensive form due to delays, government-imposed data confidentiality and financing issues.

In this regard, three years ago in 2020, Kerrie Mengersen, a professor at Brisbane QUT University, wrote to the government, saying, "If we cannot show the results of the project so far, it is almost impossible to attract potential investors. This is very unfortunate. The project is a fantastic innovation, a tribute to [the government's] long-term vision and commitment to the country and an important means of gaining important insights into Brisbane's society, economy, and future." However, this request was rejected. The aforementioned government has not allowed the public use of Queenswarp statistics other than its own data in addition to statistics from the Destination Brisbane Consortium (DBC) to provide cash for economic and construction jobs.


Moreover, QUT submitted its aforementioned baseline report back in 2019, but dismissed it as "overdated" after the government moved to review it after COVID-19. Relatedly, Livingstone has never seen the aforementioned report because it is under the custody of the ministry, but I was wondering how the data already collected could be irrelevant now. He asked about it as follows. "If you have baseline data – it's probably the most representative given that it's pre-pandemic – why don't they continue their research for a period of time so they can detect changes to that baseline?"

But the State Department says the government will focus primarily on its own regulations and laws, rather than pushing ahead with the QUT project.

Why the QUT project failed:

According to a 2021 document, the government appears to have believed that it was most important for QUTs to conduct multi-level studies before and after the official opening of Queens Wharf. Relatedly, the department said, "Performing post-completion steps is essential to deliver value from the work done to date, to ensure rigorous longitudinal studies are carried out over time, and to meaningfully measure the state and DBC's KPIs for development. If the study does not continue, the state will have to review other ways to measure public interests and other KPIs or rely solely on advice from the DBC."

Furthermore, the exact reason for the failure of the QUT research project remains confusing. In addition, the state government dedicated itself to financing the first report, and supported QUTs to attract investors at a later stage. For your information, in compliance with the 2020 documents secured under the Information Rights Act, Star and DBC will represent "the primary target of this funding."

In addition, Starr and DBC told The Brisbane Times, "Although they had promised money before (the exact amount was blacked out by an RTI officer) and were signatories of the study's Memorandum of Understanding, they played no role in the study."


According to a QUT spokesperson, elements of the study will be carried out through PhD students and their broader project, Monitoring Major Infrastructure. But it will not include Star, the Queensland government or the DBC. He said, "All partners have fulfilled their obligations at the first stage. While disappointing, it is not uncommon because of changes in timing, priorities and/or personnel that other partners' engagement may change over a long period of time."

Asked if other studies are ongoing or completed that could very well represent community impact studies, the government said: "We continue to monitor the benefits of Queen's Wharf Brisbane and track deliveries under the development agreement. Further measures of public benefits and impact will be taken after the opening of Queen's Wharf Brisbane." It also compiles a wide-ranging gambling poll that seeks to understand the gambling habits, participation and harm of Queen's Wharf Brisbane. The 2023 survey, which will be released during the first half of next year, includes sections on work, health, psychology, legal issues, finances and relationships.
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Thursday, November 16, 2023
 
 
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