Casino for Karratha?

Will there be a casino resort in Karratha, Western Australia (l.)? Parliament has confirmed receipt of a “proposal for a gaming and entertaining complex” in the rough-and-tumble industrial area.

Opposition: Casinos are “overgrown pokie parlors”

A casino proposal has been presented to lawmakers in the industrial and mining region of Karratha, Western Australia. Former “Liberal leader turned lobbyist” Matt Birney has been recruited to pitch Premier Colin Barnett and Racing and Gaming Minister Colin Holt, according to the West Australian.

Developer and racehorse owner Kim Loxton and property management company Sulcon Pty. Ltd. have promoted the plan to Holt and Barnett, and documents tabled in Parliament confirm a “proposal for a gaming and entertaining complex in Karratha.”

Barnett said he “simply listened to their proposal, as I do with many groups who wish to approach the government on various issues.” Opposition Leader Mark McGowan called on Barnett to publicly reject the proposal, saying regional casinos are “overgrown pokie parlors.”

Opponents of the plan are worried about the effect on families including aboriginal tribes. Jennifer Bowers, CEO of the Australasian Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, said the region needs more entertainment but gambling should not be part of the mix.

“We can prove through research that there is a significant statistical link between financial hardship and mental stress on mining and resource sites,” she said.

Loxton said his April meetings with Barnett and Holt were “merely exploratory.”