A crucial study into the expected long-term effects of the new casino development in Brisbane has collapsed amid the ongoing procedure delays and secrecy of the Queensland Government.
The research, which was carried out by the Queensland University of Technology, would have permitted the detailed tracking of the economic and social impact of Queen’s Wharf Brisbane over time. Unfortunately, for some reasons that have not been revealed, the project has been prematurely ended and no findings have been released.
The Queensland University of Technology shared that some PhD students would proceed with the work independently, while Queen’s Wharf would also take part in a larger “Monitoring Major Infrastructure” study. Brisbane Times revealed that researchers from the QUT were willing to continue their work, but at the same time were quite worried about the secrecy that was imposed and required by the Government.
Long before the aforementioned study collapsed, Professor Kerrie Mergensen addressed then-Minister Kate Jones in April 2020, asking for her permission to release the two elements that had been already completed. At the time, the QUT Professor explained that failing to publicly release the reports was creating an unjustified and unfavourable environment of suspicion.
First and Second Phase Reports on the Casino’s Impact Were Completed
The finished first and second phase reports were mostly baseline research on various topics, including gambling, business, tourism, public sentiment, and safety. More extensive data was set to be gathered for years after Queen’s Wharf Brisbane started operation and impacted the local community.
At the time when Professor Mergensen wrote to then-Minister Jones, she explained that the Phase One gambling report was discussed with the Gambling Impact Advisory Committee and backed the timely public release of all gambling-related results. She further described the Longitudinal Benefits and Impacts Study as an excellent innovation and a tribute to the state Government’s policy in the long term.
As previously reported, the planned integrated casino resort is set to start operation in April 2024.
So far, the state of Queensland has spent no less than AU$2 million on the study by not following through or formally taking into consideration two massive reports that were finalised in 2019 but somehow never got released, including an investigation into the impact of gambling on the local economy and society.
The work for both Brisbane and the Queensland University of Technology, which the university announced as a flagship project in November 2019, was quite significant. Unfortunately, the authorities’ secrecy may have been one of the reasons why the project collapsed. According to Professor Mengersen, it would be a significant loss and a disgrace in case that the QUT was not able to provide funding for the study’s future phases.
Brisbane Times reported that the letter, which was obtained through the Right to Information Act, provided a number of other options in case the Government continued to block the full release of the reports.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.