Staff axed as Darwin casino makes cuts

By Noah Taylor Updated
Staff axed as Darwin casino makes cuts

Staff at Darwin’s Mindil Beach Casino Resort will be laid off and dozens of casual staff will see their hours reduced as part of a drastic restructure.

NT News reports 12 full-time and part-time roles will be axed and 200 casual staff will have their shifts cut in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, with more cuts to follow if business conditions don’t improve.

Owner of the casino, Delaware North, told the NT News it had to continue to make difficult decisions necessary to stabilise the company in the wake of the pandemic.

General manager Mark Bennett said while the company was hopeful next year will see operations return to normal, the business conditions will continue to be monitored as will the subsequent effect on operations and its impact on workforce.

The company foreshadowed cuts with the end of the government’s JobKeeper funding.

Mr Bennett said the number of full-time and part-time team members who were leaving their casino resort were lower than originally anticipated.

“With Mindil Beach Casino Resort ceasing to be eligible for the government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy from September 28, we have engaged in close consultation with the United Workers Union to review our operational requirements and determine the subsequent impact of this development on our team members,” Mr Bennett said.

“This development, combined with the increased severity and extended duration of the pandemic, have led us to make the difficult but necessary decision to implement a restructure process which has reduced the size of our workforce.

“For those team members whose positions were made redundant, it became clear that their roles would not return in the foreseeable future.

Mr Bennett said many industries, notably hospitality, continue to absorb major financial losses as a result of government health directives enacted to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“For Delaware North, those losses are very significant,” he said.

After the property was forced to completely close for 11 weeks from late March, the casino section of Mindil Beach Casino Resort reopened in June, but other parts of the property, including the hotel and resort, have unfortunately remained closed.

“Notably, in the absence of interstate and overseas visitors, whom we rely heavily on for business, demand is very low and therefore we are currently trading well below where we were before the pandemic.”

Darwin RSL scraps pokies plan as part of rebuild 

A Northern Territory RSL club has scrapped plans for poker machines for its rebuild.

NT News reported in early October that the Darwin RSL’s rebuild of its clubhouse near the Cenotaph on the Darwin Esplanade won’t increase poker machines.

The council was set to vote on the matter on Thursday, to decide whether or not the controversial proposal should be supported.

Opposition from The Deckchair Cinema, who have a cinema screen which is located about 80 metres from the existing car park where the RSL wants to rebuild has been a point of conjecture.

Darwin RSL Branch President Stephen Gloster said in June that the RSL were prepared to scrap pokies from the proposal in a bid to make the venue “more family-friendly” but confirmed this week that all pokies had been removed from their proposal.

Speaking on ABC radio on Tuesday morning, a sometimes emotional Mr Gloster said the RSL felt the site was the most “fitting” location for the club to rebuild after fire destroyed the previous clubhouse on Cavenagh Street in 2018.

“This site is unique in Australia,” he said.

“It’s where they fired the first shots at the Bombing of Darwin.

“There were a lot of people killed in the Harbour and it’s the only place where there was a battle in Australia.

“So, to put the RSL there would just help with the remembrance of it all..”

The Deckchair Cinema is opposing the proposal, saying noise and light pollution from the venue could ruin its business.

Mr Gloster said the RSL would “spare no expense” to ensure the Deckchair Cinema didn’t experience the problems it feared.

The RSL’s proposal includes sound and light mitigating elements, specifically addressing the reduction of disturbance towards the eastern face of the site, where the Darwin Deckchair Cinema is located.

Darwin Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis referred to people opposing proposals like the new RSL clubhouse as “dream destroyers”.

He said he didn’t anticipate that the RSL building on the site would “become an issue for the Deckchair Cinema”.

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