An IRD is a high quality mixed-use destination aimed at providing tourism, leisure and entertainment facilities that appeal to a broad demographic, focussing especially on the international tourist market. Such developments have significant potential to inject extensive direct and indirect benefits to the economy, community and the state. They may also include casinos and offer gaming activities integrated with other service offerings that go beyond the traditional stand-alone casino.
An Integrated Resort Development could include:
- iconic architecture with extensive master-planned public realm
- five to six star globally recognised hotels and apartments
- resort-style features including pools, lagoons, beauty salons, day-spas and gyms
- convention and seminar facilities
- theatres, cinemas and entertainment spaces
- signature/celebrity food and beverage establishments, and
- high-end boutique retail.
The IRD procurement process is a Cabinet-approved assessment process to ensure the best IRD outcome is achieved for the people of Queensland. The assessment process ensures the development:
- is owned and operated with integrity by reputable businesses
- will create a large number of jobs, both short term (construction) and long term (operational) for the local community
- is financially viable, at no cost and no risk to the state
- will be a world-class tourist destination, attracting national and international visitors
- provides significant benefit to the community in the form of new public realm that enriches and enhances existing infrastructure such as pedestrian ways, bikeways, plazas, nodes, squares, transportation hubs, parks, natural features, view corridors, and building interfaces.
There are four stages to the procurement process including:
- Registration of Interest
- Expression of Interest
- Request for Detailed Proposal
- Project decision.
The government seeks to conduct its commercial dealings with integrity. Due to the scope of the project, a probity advisor has been appointed to support the project throughout its entire duration, and will provide direction at a ministerial level, attend all interactions between the state and ASF Consortium, and manage day-to-day probity matters.
The probity advisor will monitor and report on the application of the probity principles during the assessment process.
The IRD procurement process is not regulated through legislation. Moreover it's a Cabinet-approved process that enables a proponent to subsequently seek statutory planning approval for the project assuming cabinet approval is secured.
The process for the granting of statutory planning and environmental approvals for the IRD is separate to the procurement process and will be subject to the local authority planning scheme.
The legislation which the IRD (inclusive of a casino) is assessed against is:
- the Casino Control Act 1982, which is the overarching legislation that regulates the licensing and operation of Queensland's casinos.
(This act is administered by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation within the Department of Justice and Attorney General.)
The IRD procurement process could take up to 18 months to complete. Statutory planning approvals would then follow adding a further 18 months to two years to the overall process.
For the casino licence application, the length of the process is usually governed by the probity and suitability investigations undertaken by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.
Yes, government needs to be sure of the proponent's ability to deliver the state's objectives for these types of developments and so require greater identification of funding resources and evidence of financial viability to be demonstrated. The proponent would need to provide a detailed and comprehensive submission which responds to the Request for Detailed Proposal (RFDP) documentation.
Following the announcement of the selected proponent/s an RFDP document will be issued to invite the proponent/s to submit a detail proposal for the project. The RFDP provides the proponent with information on the state's minimum requirements and the arrangements for the submission and assessment of its proposal.
The objectives of the RFDP process are to:
- ensure there is no risk held by the state
- ensure there is no net cost to the state
- encourage innovation and excellence in design and operation of the project
- ensure the delivery of the IRD and appropriate community benefits
- receive a thoroughly developed proposal for a project that is financially certain and viable, both during its development and operation
- develop a positive working relationship with the proponent.
The IRD procurement process is Cabinet-approved and represents strong due process; it's not red tape —there can be no shortcuts. It is the process that protects the community's interests and ensures that the state's objectives for the project are delivered. Government has the responsibility to protect the community's interest, ensure a project of this size can be delivered successfully within stipulated timeframes and within scope and those proponents have the financial capability and track record to succeed.
An IRD does not necessarily need have to have a casino licence. There are a number of examples of IRDs around the world that don't require a casino licence as a major drawcard for tourism. The addition of a casino to an IRD improves the prospect of securing investment commitments and can fund a greater number of, and better quality, hotels, shops, attractions and events that will drive visitation.
The Governor-in-Council grants a casino licence on the recommendation of the Attorney General. Such recommendations are only made after consideration of a range of matters, including financial stability, viability, business ability, reputation and criminal history, as well as operational considerations in relation to the proposed scope and design of the casino premises. The Attorney General is also required to make a recommendation to the Governor–in-Council to approve the suitability of the proponent, and the licence cannot be issued until such approval is given. Accordingly, a successful proponent for an IRD with a casino licence would be subject to significant due diligence investigations.
Further, a Casino Agreement must also be entered into prior to the Governor-in-Council granting a casino licence. A Casino Agreement is an approved written agreement entered into between the state and a proposed casino licensee. The agreement must be ratified by an Act of Parliament in order to come into effect, and operates with the force of law.
Casino licences in Queensland are only made available if a significant net community benefit can be derived from a casino-related development.
No, each state has different legislative standards in terms of the requirements to be met before recommending approval.
Yes, the local community, business and industry will have an opportunity to have their say. Community input is vital in ensuring the IRD process achieves outcomes which meet the needs of the community. Community input into the proposed IRD will be sought at an appropriate time.
On 16 March 2016, it was announced in State Parliament that if one or both of the current regional IRD proposals do not go ahead, the government may go back to the market to seek expressions of interest for the available regional licences. That decision is yet to be made.
The IRD process is currently the only process in Queensland that enables potential developers to apply for a casino license.
Should any of the selected candidates be unsuccessful in their bid for a casino licence, the government may look at providing opportunity to the market for securing an IRD with casino licence through a redefined competitive bid process. However, this will only happen once the current IRD processes have been completed.
The Process Deed is a legal document that indicates timing and process for the development. It stipulates revised timelines for the IRD process, the legal rights of government regarding the IRD process and the revised conditions in which the government is prepared to continue the IRD process engage with the proponent. The Probity Deed is an agreement to ensure procedural integrity and probity during the IRD process.