The mayor, the billionaire and high stakes Hong Kong talks
SUNSHINE Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson has met with a Hong Kong conglomerate with extensive global casino investments both in Australia and Europe, as part of a 10-day trade mission to Asia and the United States.
A council spokesman has confirmed the meeting with Far East Consortium International Limited chairman and chief executive officer, billionaire property developer David Chiu took place.
But he said there were 'no discussions with any parties during the mayor's investment mission about an IRD (integrated resort development) for the Sunshine Coast".
Far East Consortium Ltd holds 25 per cent equity in the Queens Wharf casino redevelopment's gambling operations and is the 100 per cent shareholder in Trans World Corporation which has hotel and gambling assets in the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria.
The company has also signed a Strategic Alliance Agreement with The Star - Australia's largest gambling operator.
It was also active in property development and hospitality and owned 390 car parks with a total of 74,500 parking bays.
"Far East Consortium has extensive hotel, residential and commercial property interests in Australia and overseas and are in the process of delivering two premium hotel developments (Ritz-Carlton) in Melbourne and Perth," the spokesman said.
"Far East Consortium also owns the international hotels group Dorsett Hospitality International Limited, which owns 33 hotels in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and London.
"The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the opportunities associated with investing in premium hotel, commercial and residential development within the Maroochydore City Centre - which is consistent with one of the primary objectives of this mission as stated by the mayor in his media release prior to his departure."
Cr Jamieson has posted numerous photos of his trip both to Hong Kong and the United States on his mayoral Facebook page but none of the meeting with Mr Chiu.
However he did make the following observation about the meeting.
"As always I enjoyed a healthy discussion with David and Chris from Far East Consortium about investment and development between Australia and China, through the gateway that is Hong Kong," Cr Jamieson wrote.
Fisher MP Andrew Wallace, who has mounted a strong 'No' campaign opposing a casino in the region, said a majority of Sunshine Coast residents did not want a casino here.
Minister for Tourism Development Kate Jones, who was also part of the trade mission, has also stated she did not see a casino as a good fit for the Sunshine Coast tourism brand.