Canberra: The island continent, Australia, which is nowhere on the map of China`s investment initiative – One Belt One Road (OBOR) – has suddenly found itself on the route, which, upon its completion, will take the global trade to the next level.
According to a report published on the abc.net.au, the latest development has taken place after a theme park project, to be developed by Chinese firm Songcheng in Australia`s Gold Coast City, was found listed on China`s Ministry of Culture website late last week.
The proposed Australian Legend World at Nerang suburb, worth more than $400 million, has been described as a “key cultural trade and investment project” and a part of the China`s ambitious OBOR initiative.
“The Australian Government may not want to not sign up to the initiative as a program but there`s nothing to stop particular projects in Australia signing up on their own account,” the ABC quoted China expert John Fitzgerald as saying.
On the ministry`s website, the proposed park has been listed at number 11 among 40 other top priority government projects, which are affiliated with the OBOR, scheduled to come up at various locations around the world.
Further, the project has made the cut despite China scaling back its overseas real estate investments and announcing new corporate investment guidelines last year.
The Songcheng`s spokesman in Australia, Roland Evans, said with the park`s listing on the ministry`s website, the Chinese government has indicated that the proposal was in accordance with the new rules.
Though the project may symbolise a new peak in the bilateral relations, the park is facing stiff opposition from the locals. Over 300 objections have reportedly been lodged with the Gold Coast City Council against the project.
The locals have cited environmental and immigration concerns. However, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, according to the news network, has been quite enthusiastic about the project.
“We`re delighted the Chinese Government has included this project on their Belt and Road list,” Mr Tate reportedly said in a statement. But, despite all the hype around the proposed park, its fate remains in the balance as it is yet to get the green light from the council, which will vote on the matter later this year.