Star offers paid leave to natural disaster volunteers

By Mia Chapman Updated
Australia-China tensions don’t concern Star CEO

The Star Entertainment Group has reportedly introduced a new policy that is offering up to four weeks of paid leave to any employee that also volunteers for a multitude of local emergency service organisations.

World Casino Directory reports that the initiative from the Sydney-listed firm comes as a series of devastating bushfires are ravaging Australia and is to apply to any member of stuff that additionally volunteers for groups that may be called into action during events such as the New South Wales Rural Fire Service or Victoria’s Country Fire Authority.

The Star Entertainment Group was previously known as Echo Entertainment Group Limited until undergoing a name change in 2015.

It is responsible for The Star Sydney and southern Queensland’s The Star Gold Coast gambling venues.

The Brisbane headquartered firm reportedly revealed its new policy is to cover all future natural disasters and may be utilised by individual employees more than once a year.

There are currently fires burning across Australia that broke out in November and have already killed more than 25 people, alongside millions of animals, while destroying 5,900 buildings, including more than 2,200 homes.

The Star Entertainment Group also runs the Treasury Casino and Hotel in central Brisbane, purportedly employing 9,500 nationwide and has already pledged to donate $103,200 to local bushfire relief organisations.

The Star reportedly explained its new leave initiative saying it will enable the organisation to better support volunteer organisations such as those currently battling the Australian bushfires and moreover, remove hurdles for those wishing to join such groups.

Similarly, it purportedly stated that existing members of the emergency services now know that they will be able to join its ranks without having to compromise on their volunteerism.

Star seeks exclusivity agreement with Queensland government

The Star Entertainment Group is demanding a 30-year casino monopoly on the Gold Coast in formal negotiations with the Queensland government.

The Australian reported in December that the casino operator wants to lock out big name international rivals that have expressed an interest in building an integrated resort on the Glitter Strip.

Four meetings have been help with state government officials over a possible “exclusivity” deal in exchange for the Star to contractually commit to a proposed $2 billion revamp of its Gold Coast casino, convention centre and hotel operations.

The Star is urging the Queensland government to abandon a proposal to issue a second casino license as part of a global tourism hub, that has attracted formal interest from Hard Rock International, Hong Kong casino tycoon Lawrence Ho’s Melco Resorts and the Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group.

The group has won the support of the United Voice union, which represents casino workers, after it is understood to have struck a new industrial deal with the casino on the Gold Coast and at its Brisbane casino.

In November, Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones announced the state government would enter into “direct negotiations” with Star in a bid to fast track new tourism infrastructure and to “contractualise the delivery” of its $2 billion masterplan for the Gold Coast.

Star has publicly warned it needs “exclusivity” for its Gold Coast license to go ahead with its master plan.

Sources said Star had repeatedly demanded a 30-year guaranteed monopoly on the Gold Coast, but the government is “pushing back” on the proposed arrangement.

Last month, Ms Jones said she had hopes a decision would be made before Christmas, but it is now believed negotiations will continue into the new year.

“The formal process being used for the Star Entertainment Group negotiations are in line with the state government’s exclusive negotiating framework under the Department of State Development,” Ms Jones said in a statement.

“I can confirm that probity auditors O’Connor Marsden and Associates have been engaged to ensure the required accountability standards are met for the negotiations.”

Ms Jones said she had had no discussions with any union leader about mooted enterprise bargaining agreements related to the casino.

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