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[SYDNEY] A proposed A$8 billion (US$6.52 billion) Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort, backed by Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung, was on Thursday granted regulatory approval by an Australian state planning department - clearing its first legislative hurdle.
The Queensland Coordinator-General approved the environmental design of Aquis, with the state finding the proposed project posed no unacceptable risk to the Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia's main tourist destinations.
Aquis plans to build a Macau-style casino and resort, home to 7,500 hotel rooms, theatres, conference centres and a sporting precinct with an 18-hole golf course.
The project sill needs to clear several regulatory hurdles, with the issuance of a casino licence the most notable.