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Islanders Angry Over Casino Ban

30 July 2004

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Age.com: "For months, Federal Government minister Ian Campbell was promoting the reopening of a casino on remote Christmas Island.

"The Howard Government's minister for territories even urged Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone to allow Asian gamblers to visit the island without having to obtain a visa.

"…But on July 16, Senator Campbell's last day as minister for territories before being sworn in as Environment Minister, he announced a decision that enraged the island's 1200 people and has thrown their economic future into doubt.

"'In the interests of the Christmas Island community, the Australian Government has decided to make legislative changes to prohibit casino operations on Christmas Island,' Senator Campbell said.

"By the time NSW MP Jim Lloyd replaced Senator Campbell last week, Christmas Island, a rocky outcrop 2630 kilometres north-west of Perth, was in revolt.

"…Almost every adult on the island has signed a petition calling on the Government to reverse the decision…"

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