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Christmas Island Casino closure regretted



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rri, 24-04-98 24-APR-38 16 = 23 FROM = 04:58:38 PM PI SO 3

The Hon Alex Somlyay M. P.

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M e d i a

R e l e a s eTHE HON ALEX SOMLYAY MP Minister for Regional Development, Territories ami Local Government CHRISTMAS ISLAND CASINO CLOSURE REGRETTED

The Territories Minister, Alex Somlyay, described today's decision by the casino licensee of the Christmas Island casino, Christmas Island Resort Pty Ltd to suspend casino operations as ‘regrettable’.

"The licensee’s decision to close of the casino was not only unexpected but disappointing. The casino is a major employer in the Territory. Many of the Territory’s businesses and residents rely on the Resort's continued operation and success ” Mr Somlyay said

"However, without the continued support of the Resort’s owners, there was little I could realistically do to keep the casino open ”

The Territory’s community has attributed the Resort's closure to the Resort’s inability to secure direct flights between Christmas Island and Indonesia Mr Somlyay said that Australian authorities have been working closely with Indonesian authorities for several months to find an arrangement which would permit air services between the Island and Indonesia to resume, but to no avail.

Discussions are currently underway between the Minister and representatives of the casino licensee over Christmas Island Resort’s continued involvement with the casino

“During these discussions, Christmas Island Resort’s directors have given me a number of undertakings that, despite the Resort's closure, all Christmas Island Resort’s obligations and financial commitments for the hotel and casino operations, including the payment of staff and creditors, will be met from CIR’s funds. I expect that irrespective of the source of those funds, any payments will be made promptly " Mr Somlyay said.

"I have explained to the casino licensee that I retain a clear preference for the resort and casino to reopen as soon as possible, not the least because of its importance to the Christmas Island community.’’ said Mr Somlyay.

“I am exploring with the Resort’s owners how and when this can occur. All options are currently on the table".

Ends 24 April 1997

Contact: Graeme Hallett, Minister's Office (02) 6277 7060, 0419 218 469 (mobile)

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