SGR) Queen’s Wharf faces opening delay and cost blow-out

Queen’s Wharf has blown its budget and fallen behind schedule, blaming bad weather and the COVID-19 pandemic for delaying completion of the casino and entertainment complex.

It was the latest blow for the casino’s would-be operator, Star Entertainment Group, which has already faced a devastating public inquiry in New South Wales ahead of a similar review in Queensland.

The Queen’s Wharf construction site, pictured on Wednesday. Star has revealed a 10 per cent cost blow-out.

In an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange on Friday morning, Star confirmed the gigantic casino development on the bank of the Brisbane River, originally meant to open “in the first half of 2023”, would likely open in the second half of the year.

It would also prove a costly delay. Star estimated the project’s budget would blow out by about 10 per cent.

“Due to higher than average rainfall in FY2022 and the impact of COVID-19, the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane integrated resort development (IRD) is now expected to open from [the second half of the 2023 calendar year] (subject to various approvals), which represents a delay from prior guidance of mid-2023,” it said.

“Total project costs are expected to be up about 10 per cent on prior guidance of $2.6 billion due to escalating construction material costs, labor shortages, supply chain challenges and the program delay as well as the inclusion of capital equipment required to open the IRD.

“Pre-opening and other operational readiness costs would be in addition to this estimate.”

The cost of the entire Queen’s Wharf precinct has previously been estimated at $3.6 billion, $2.6 billion of which was the integrated resort component. The rest of the cost was for associated residential towers.

A Destination Brisbane consortium spokesman confirmed the cost blow-out announced on Friday only applied to the integrated resort and casino component.

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