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With Detention Centres Closing on the Christmas Islands, Casinos Could be a Solution to Unemployment

Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre turned into a casino

With detention centres on the Christmas Island soon closing, unemployment will skyrocket – casinos could be the answer.

The Christmas Island Federal Budget announced the cessation of detention centres in the area. This poses a grave problem: rates of unemployment will soar and a solution has to be worked out. An estimated 50 number of jobs will be lost. It may not seem too much at first glimpse, but with a population of around 1,400, that amounts to a 3.5% portion of inhabitants losing their jobs overnight. These workers are in the employment of Serco, the company operating these detention centres. Jobs that are in imminent danger are ones in catering, administration, cleaning and gardening. Guards are also in danger of being let go.


• Christmas Island detention centres will be closing
• Unemployment will increase
• Casinos can be a solution

Union leader, Gordon Thomson, commented on the matter, “Serco management has been here from the mainland since Monday and they have not contacted me despite repeated efforts. They have seriously upset workers who don’t know what the future holds. Nobody knows what’s going on.” More than one immigration detention centre around the Island will be shutting down, leaving only North West Point to continue its operations for cases of emergency. The Island’s economy is in jeopardy, and something has to be done. Gambling news reports that a government organization suggested that tourism be resuscitated with giving the Island a casino license.

Jobs need to be created with the help of tourism and casinos

Joe Hockey, Treasurer of the Island, stated that the closure of these centres would lead to an extra USD 554.5 million left in the budget. He said that since the government is successful in stopping illegal immigrant boats, not as many detention centres are needed. A viable solution would be the reopening of the Christmas Island Casino, but authorities have yet to approve the license. Although phosphate mining remains a stable source of income for the next twenty years, it is not sustainable in the long-run. The target audience are tourists from Asia, who would be flown with chartered flights and accommodated in reasonably priced hotels.

Immigration detention centre fire

Who wouldn’t want to spend time in the tropics playing at luxury casinos? The old Christmas Island Resort functioned as a casino from December 1993, but the Federal Government cancelled its license five years later. According to mobile casinos, there were many reasons behind the revocation. The Asian economic crisis came and some Asian air services were cancelled, conflicts arose within the management. There were also problems with revenue. Once the casino was closed, the facilities were used for tourist accommodation and to allocate immigrants when the detention centres were full. The location is in the vicinity of the airport, which makes it easily accessible.

The resort would be more than equipped to deal with a surge of tourists

The facilities of Christmas Island Resort are suitable for the plan: there are a total of 156 rooms and has a pool, nightclubs and eateries. There were a total of 17 gaming tables and 43 slot machines. The centers that could be converted into resorts are the Christmas Island Detention Centre, Phosphate Hill and Construction Camp. Barry Haase, government-appointed administrator for the Island, has high hopes: “Those facilities are going to be central to our future economic opportunities.[…] Everything is really in place to get this venture going and we’ll be talking with interested operators.” He added, “I’m strongly in favour and have been consistently pushing the government to make a decision.”

Each centre has great features that would most probably persuade gamblers to go to the Island instead of using mobile betting applications. For instance, the Christmas Island detention centre has medical, educational and sports facilities. Phosphate Hill, opened 2001, is also equipped with classrooms but has a recreational space, too. Its learning centre is able to teach young children (of as young as 3 years old,) up to 18 year-old teenagers. Construction Camp first became operational in 2008 and also has medical rooms. Visitors will be able to spend time in its numerous recreational areas, like the TV room and play centre.

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