Chinese developers have been given the green light to buy land for a planned $4.2 billion mega-resort and casino in far north Queensland.

The Foreign Investment Review Board has approved an application by Aquis to purchase 340 hectares of land for its development at Yorkeys Knob near Cairns.

The development includes nine luxury hotels, an 18-hole golf course, a 25,000 seat stadium and a cultural heritage centre.

Aquis CEO Justin Fung says the company will take full ownership of the land once plans for the project are approved and a casino licence secured.

The company last week signed a $269 million takeover bid agreement with the Reef Casino Trust (RCT) which owns the Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns.

Aquis is hopeful a bid to extend the Reef Casino licence to include the mega-resort is successful.  As a back up, they've also applied for one of two new regional Queensland casino licences on offer by the state government.

Locals have raised concerns the project won't withstand a cyclone, will increase problem gambling, may damage the Great Barrier Reef and could hurt the region's nature-based tourism industry.

Those in favour of the resort say it will bring much-needed jobs to the region and boost tourism.

Aquis owner Hong Kong-based billionaire Tony Fung has said the resort would rival great man-made structures seen in Dubai and Singapore and would attract big spenders from China.


  • After spending Christmas in Cairns last year I noticed that it changed very little from the last time I worked there around twelve years ago. The whole place looks dated and decaying and if we are going to attract the Asian middle class to this region we need to invest heavily and this looks like a great project.

    The existing casino is an embarrassment and it's a shame we need foreign investors to get this going. Why isn't James Packer, or similar, financing something like this?