New research reveals strong community support for Aquis proposal
Only one in five Canberrans oppose the proposed new integrated city entertainment precinct despite a vicious fear campaign by the clubs lobby group, a robust research study has revealed.
Commissioned in August, the independent quantitative study canvassed the issue with a statistically representative sample of 1000 Canberrans. It found that just 21.2 percent of Canberrans were opposed to the Aquis Entertainment project being given the green light.
Overwhelming support is driven by the desire for a more vibrant CBD, as well as the economic, job creation and tourism benefits that will flow from the development.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents cited a desire for more vibrancy in the national capital and new city entertainment options as the key reason for their support. A further 25 percent believed that the project should be given the go-ahead because of its job-creation potential and the flow-on economic benefits to the community.
The majority of the 21.2 percent that opposed the project cited an aversion to gambling as their key reason, followed by concerns about over-development and a sense that there was already enough nightlife in the city.
Aquis Entertainment CEO, Jessica Mellor, said she was encouraged by the results as they showed Canberrans were able to see the city-building benefits of investment in tourism and entertainment infrastructure.
“While the clubs lobby has focused enormous effort on a misinformation campaign based on a small number of gaming machines, it is pleasing to see that Canberrans have been able to see through this and have clearly understood the bigger opportunities presented by our proposal.
“As is the case in every other city, there is no reason why our integrated resort and modern clubs can’t and shouldn’t coexist in a way that increases the net benefit to the economy and the community.
“It is particularly encouraging to see that Canberrans haven’t been fooled by the well-funded campaign from the clubs lobby and its candidates.”
Less than 10 percent of the floor area of the proposed development will be gaming-related, and Ms Mellor believes this is central to understanding the Aquis vision for the project and its potential.
“This is first and foremost an investment in tourism infrastructure for our growing city,” she said.
“Almost every other Australian city is actively pursuing integrated resort development for the same reasons we should be”.
According to Deloitte Access Economics, a significant range of economic benefits will flow from the redevelopment including a $541 million increase in Gross Territory Product between now and 2030, along with the creation of up to 338 new full time ongoing jobs.
This is in addition to more than 260 jobs to be created through the construction phase. The projected increase to inbound tourism is set to deliver wider-reaching benefits with the Deloitte study estimating that the project will attract up to 617,000 new visitors per annum.
Ms Mellor believes the community support grows from a sense of confidence about where Canberra is heading.
“Our population will exceed 400,000 for the first time this year. International flights commenced last month - and international investors are taking note.
“Canberra has a wonderful opportunity to cement itself as one of the world’s best small cities, and we remain committed to playing a role in helping the city reach its full potential.
“It’s great to know that the community also supports our vision”.
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