The Queen’s Wharf Brisbane, a much-anticipated complex, is set to open in 2024. However, concerns have been raised over the lack of an independent and comprehensive study on its impact on the community. The absence of such research has been described as “disgraceful” by Dr. Charles Livingstone from Monash University, a prominent gambling researcher. The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has received funding to produce baseline reports on various topics related to the project, including gambling impacts, connectivity, and tourism. However, further stages of the study have been abandoned due to delays, data secrecy, and funding issues imposed by the government.
The government’s refusal to allow public use of any Queen’s Wharf statistics, other than its own data and that of the Destination Brisbane Consortium (DBC), has also sparked criticism. The government has dismissed the baseline reports submitted by QUT as “dated,” despite pre-pandemic data being considered the most representative. Dr. Livingstone has questioned this decision, urging the government to continue the study over time to detect changes against the baselines. However, the State Development Department has stated that the government will focus on its own regulation and legislation, rather than moving forward with the QUT project.
The failure of the QUT project to continue has raised questions, as the government had initially supported the study but later pulled out, leaving it up to QUT to attract investors for the later stages. The exact reason for the project’s failure remains unclear, although documents suggest that Star Entertainment and the DBC played a role in financing the study. The government has also mentioned that it is compiling a wider gambling poll to understand Queenslanders’ gambling habits and harm, which will be revealed in the first half of next year.
Overall, the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane complex is set to open in 2024, amid concerns about the lack of an independent and comprehensive study on its impact on the community. The government’s decision to abandon further stages of the study has been met with criticism, while the exact reasons for the project’s failure remain unclear.