An update about The Ville Resort – Casino

1 min·5 Feb, 2024

Media Statement

Today, all charges against The Ville Resort – Casino for breaching the Casino Control Act have been dismissed by consent of the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) in the Townsville Magistrates Court, a vindication of our strong belief that we follow all our obligations and operate legally.

As we have consistently stated, we take our obligations very seriously and have continued to work with the OLGR to ensure that we operate within legislated guidelines and continue implementing measures that strengthen our already robust approach. From the outset, we were of the view that all of the charges lacked a factual and legal basis. That position has now been justified.

These proceedings have resulted in substantial legal costs and have, over 2 years, taken a significant toll on individual team members involved . Our people are an essential part of the success of our business and are a key reason we have been so steadfast in defending this case. We will continue to support them as a priority.

We acknowledge the support of the Townsville community over this period. The Ville and its parent company, Morris Group, are incredibly proud to operate as one of Townsville’s largest private employers and look forward to continuing to invest in our city’s growth and development.

 Penny Cottle

CEO, Morris Group

Historic contribution secures Fire’s future

2 mins·3 Nov, 2023

Morris Group has been officially announced as a Hero Partner for Townsville Fire, supporting the champion WNBL team with an additional $500,000 a year for the next three years.

The new partnership is the largest contribution to the club from the private sector in its history, providing clear commitment to the advancement of female sport and pathways for elite athlete development in the north.

Morris Group Founder and Executive Chairman Chris Morris said the company was proud to throw its support behind the team and keep it in the hands of the community.

“Whilst we were initially approached to purchase the club, we felt that it was important for The Townsville Fire to remain community-owned unlike many other clubs in the competition,” Mr Morris said.

“We’re proud that we can play a role in supporting the team and to the continuing development of professional women’s sport in North Queensland,”

Chris Morris, Executive Chairman, Morris Group

The Townsville Fire

Fire General Manager Sam Pascoe said the partnership with Morris Group demonstrates an incredible commitment to the community and will ensure that the Fire continues to provide a direct pathway to female athletes from the region.

“We have worked closely with The Ville since 2020, and to have them come on board in such a significant way, is truly a game changer for the club,” she said.

‘It means we remain competitive not just in the WNBL but in the entire sporting landscape, we can continue to set the bar and grow our organisation; and providing a genuine opportunity to focus on junior pathways in our region.”

As part of the arrangement, Townsville Fire will also welcome CBCo Brewing as their new official Beer and Cider Partner.

Changing lives one dream at a time

3 mins·13 Oct, 2023

For almost a decade, The Ville Resort-Casino has been helping the North Queensland Cowboys change lives.

Since becoming an industry partner of the Dream, Believe, Achieve employment program the property has delivered around 16,000 hours of work placement for jobseekers from across the region.

Dream, Believe, Achieve is open to North Queenslanders who are over 15 years and not currently working or enrolled in school or other training courses.

Over the course of the 10-week intensive training, the participants complete their Certificate III in Hospitality, including their Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA), Responsible Gambling Services (RSG), and food safety certificates.

As well as the all-important qualifications, the participants also get the opportunity to complete real-life experience through work placement at a local hospitality business.

North Queensland Cowboys Programs Mentor Albey Reuben says it’s the experience of working somewhere like The Ville that really sets students up for success.

“Industry partners are vital to the course because they facilitate on-the-job work experience for our participants, which gives them the opportunity to experience a workplace before committing to a role and helps them build the skills and confidence they need to succeed,” he said.

“Our students who work at The Ville really love it. It’s a great employer because of the range of opportunities available from the variety of restaurants through to hotel, gaming, functions, and major events,”

Albey Reuben, North Queensland Cowboys Programs Mentor

Cowboys House

“I see students really grow in confidence as well as ability. That type of environment really helps them decide what career path they want to follow once they finish their training.

“We’ve had students who have gained full-time employment and elevated themselves to supervisor positions at The Ville after completing the course which speaks volumes for the opportunities on offer.”

Recent graduate Cutika Illin is just one of the many Dream, Believe, Achieve alumni who was employed by The Ville at the end of her work experience.

“I see students really grow in confidence as well as ability. That type of environment really helps them decide what career path they want to follow once they finish their training.

“We’ve had students who have gained full-time employment and elevated themselves to supervisor positions at The Ville after completing the course which speaks volumes for the opportunities on offer.”

Recent graduate Cutika Illin is just one of the many Dream, Believe, Achieve alumni who was employed by The Ville at the end of her work experience.

“It’s so rewarding to watch our participants grow every day they are with us, from being very shy and reserved, to achieving their goals,”

Albey Reuben, North Queensland Cowboys Programs Mentor

“They finish with a sense of confidence, purpose, and routine that they didn’t have before. A lot of people walk around with two left feet because they’re unsure of what they want to do, or don’t have the support they need to achieve their dreams.

“Once they get the confidence to believe in themselves and their abilities, that’s where the purpose comes from because they can see they have a bright future and people want them to succeed.”

For Albey, one of the most inspiring success stories the program has seen was a participant named Terrance.

“When he started with us, he hadn’t worked in 10 years and was living in a men’s shelter,” Albey said.

“Sometimes it was a struggle for him to show up every day for 10 weeks, especially after being out of the workforce for so long. But he persevered through the course, showed resilience, and really demonstrated that you can get to where you want to be with the right support and determination.

“The Ville really embraced him and supported him on that journey and now he’s one of the favourites on the team.”

Albey says it’s stories like Terrance’s and Cutika’s that are testament to the power of collaboration between the program and industry partners like The Ville.

“We’re really proud of the outcomes Dream, Believe, Achieve is seeing and we’re excited to continue providing opportunities for North Queenslanders,”

“We’re really appreciative of our industry partners like The Ville, for the real opportunities they provide for our participants to achieve their goals.”

CBCo’s agricultural shift

4 mins·7 Sep, 2023

When he first took up the role of General Manager at CBCo’s Margaret River brewery, Eamon Clifford had a fair idea of what he was getting into – brewing and selling a whole lot of beer mainly.

But what he didn’t see coming was that four years later he’d also be driving the brewery’s charge into sustainable agriculture.

The brewery’s location on 70 acres of land in Western Australia’s picturesque Margaret River region makes it prime land for farming. Eamon says even from his first day he could immediately see the potential for bringing the farm, brewery and restaurant together more seamlessly.

The goal: using regenerative farming principles to achieve a ‘closed loop’. In short, using wastewater from the brewing process to irrigate grazing paddocks, or the spent grain to feed sheep and cattle reared onsite to be used in the restaurant for the full paddock to plate experience.

“The goal is to make the whole property more sustainable economically, socially, and environmentally,” Eamon said.

“We’re actually value-adding to the property and treating the land with care and respect. Not only repairing the land but making it better than what it was before,”

Eamon Clifford, General Manager, CBCo Brewing Margaret River


“We also want to create a fuller experience for our patrons – an even bigger reason for people to travel to our brewery and give us some prominence. There are 11 breweries in Margaret River so it’s very competitive and this helps with creating a point of difference.”

The first seeds for the more sustainable model were sown about three years ago when CBCo began actively managing the grounds beyond the brewery.

At that time the land was in pretty poor shape; overrun with invasive kikuyu grass that’s too long for sheep to graze, too overgrown to seed with new grass, and requiring a lot of manual work to irrigate and fertilise.

The turnaround really took off last year, after the brewery received a grant for Eamon and the brewery’s Head of Grounds and Maintenance, Darren Arthur to complete a 12-month course in regenerative farming.

Since starting the course nine months ago, Eamon and Darren have learned more about soil-testing, whole farm planning, and low intervention farming practices.

“What’s different in regenerative farming to traditional methods is that instead of having just one crop that needs continual watering, ripping the hay, and a lot of fertilisers, we’re trying to reduce those inputs,” Eamon said.

“It’s about changing from a monoculture to a polyculture. At the moment we have 20 different species growing in the paddocks. Those 20 varieties are designed as a summer and winter mix, so they add the nitrogen and all the microorganisms to the soil which mean you don’t have to continually add fertiliser.”

In May 2023, the CBCo paddock reached a major milestone, with the arrival of its first sheep.

“We started off with a small flock of 40 or 50, and that’s grown to about 150 lambs on the property now,” he said.

“So, we’re going to be able to have our first paddock to plate in around October or November this year which is really exciting.”

Stage two of the project is well underway with the property’s first herd of cattle now settled in. They’re a relatively new breed called lowlines, a miniature angus beef which grow to around one metre tall.

“We’re in the process of becoming one of the first registered lowlines stock breeders in the southwest,” Eamon said.

“These cows are suited to smaller farms because of their size, and it means we can share the paddocks between the sheep and the cattle. You don’t have to change all the fencing because you don’t have a one tonne animal tearing through there.”

With the cattle breeding process in full swing, Eamon says there are some key projects in the pipeline to get them closer to closing the loop. Next on the agenda… wastewater.

“Our massive advantage is that we’ve got the brewery onsite so we have a consistent supply wastewater that we can use year-round,” he said.

“There’s going to be a time in the future where water’s going to be more expensive than beer, so we need to repurpose this asset that we have and redirect it out of the brewery and to the farm as opposed to just letting it go to waste.”

Apart from the obvious environmental benefits, the CBCo approach is also yielding positive results when it comes to providing opportunities to work closely with the local community.

Recently, the team hosted a trade waste conference with industry peers from local wineries and breweries so they could coordinate their approach, and work together towards achieving common goals.

Eamon says there’s still a lot of work to do, but the progress so far has been satisfying to see.

“I think we’re probably two years away from being fully self-sufficient on the farm,” he said.

“It’s taken a lot of effort to push, and it’s still early days but it now feels like a farm that’s being managed proactively.”

And even though farming was never really on his radar as something he could add to his CV, he says he’s enjoying the challenge of bringing agriculture and sustainability front and centre at CBCo Margaret River.

“It’s exciting and it adds a new element to the job which keeps it super interesting. It’s more than just pulling pints,” he said.

“I’ve really enjoyed the sustainability aspect of it and making this place even better. One of the best things about working for Morris Group and CBCo is that if you find a valuable project, you can get the support to pull it off.”

Good Food nods for Morris Hospitality pubs

AuthorAuthor Role 1 min·25 Aug, 2023

Three of Morris Hospitality’s iconic pubs have been named amongst Victoria’s best in two recent ‘best of’ lists published by Good Food in The Age.

The Albert Park Hotel and Railway Club Hotel made the list of the 30 best pubs in Melbourne, while Portsea Hotel was named as one of Victoria’s top 10 regional pubs.

In its assessment of Albert Park Hotel, Good Food said it stood out from its peers for its food – the Happy Valley kitchen sidestepping the pub standards with ‘a menu that’s fun, feastable, and farmer-focused, and service that lets the good times roll’.

Meanwhile, Railway Club Hotel’s diehard commitment to beef helped it make the cut, Good Food describing its legendary steaks as ‘first-rate’.

In the top 10 list for Victoria’s best regional pubs, Portsea Hotel’s stunning views made it an obvious inclusion, along with its ‘bona fide always-on-holiday vibe’.

Portsea Hotel

Funding focus on farmers, First Nations Australians, oceans, waste

2 mins·10 Aug, 2023

Morris Family Foundation’s latest round of funding has been announced, with 28 organisations getting the greenlight for support.

Their projects range from supporting our farmers and First Nations entrepreneurs, protecting our oceans, and achieving a zero-waste society.

A quick guide to some of the foundation’s latest funded projects:

Australian Marine Conservation Society – the country’s only organisation that is solely devoted to protecting and restoring ocean wildlife and their habitats.

Farming for the Future – an innovative research project that is working with Australia’s agriculture sector to create a decarbonised, financially prosperous, and climate resilient industry.

Australian Holistic Management Cooperative – part of a global network that’s committed to supporting farmers to implement practices that measurably regenerate their land.

Grata Fund – building a fairer world by harnessing the power of high impact, strategic litigation to create structural change in climate justice, human rights, and democratic freedoms.

MURRA Indigenous Business Masterclass – aims to develop the capacity of First Nations entrepreneurs and professionals to develop business opportunities.

Boomerang Alliance – Australia’s leading non-government organisation on plastic campaigning, which aims to contribute to a healthy planet by achieving a zero-waste society.

Farming for the future

Northern Escape Collection redefines ‘utter seclusion’ with Pelorus Private Island

3 mins·27 Jun, 2023

Pelorus Private Island is the latest jewel in the Northern Escape Collection crown, offering travellers an utterly secluded and indulgent hideaway amongst the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.

Embraced by pristine waters, superb fringing reefs, and a lush verdant hillside, Pelorus Private Island boasts a naturally isolated single, sprawling residence featuring four luxurious suites, making it the only luxury private island residence in the region.

Accessed via a 30-minute helicopter journey from Townsville or a private superyacht, guests are invited to indulge in relaxation and barefoot adventure with a range of bespoke activities on offer including diving and snorkelling, guided jet ski and sea bob tours, reef fishing, access to the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) and boat charters. The island also provides access to the untouched wilderness of Hinchinbrook Island, Australia’s largest island national park, home to rainforest-clad hiking trails, cascading waterfalls, abundant wildlife and diverse flora.

Morris Group Founder and Executive Chairman, Chris Morris said Pelorus Private Island will bring something incredibly unique to Tropical North Queensland.

“Pelorus Private Island is a rare offering on the Great Barrier Reef, where guests can enjoy unparalleled levels of privacy and personalised
service, in a location that seamlessly combines nature with luxury,”

Chris Morris, Executive Chairman, Morris Group

Pelorus Island

“The intimate dwelling is best shared with family and friends looking for a truly memorable getaway on the reef together. The secluded and highly private nature of the residence will attract a calibre of premium travellers not often seen in this part of the world.”

According to Tourism Australia’s Global Future of Tourism Demand Research, luxury travellers averaged 5.1 trips in the past five years with over one-third having taken five or more trips during this period. These travellers spend more when they travel and travel more frequently than most other traveller types.

“Pelorus Private Island aligns with the growing consumer demand for ultra-luxe products that offer exclusivity, privacy and remoteness while allowing them to connect and spend time with loved ones,” said Mr Morris.

With architecture and interiors designed by Dubois Design, Pelorus Private Island is currently under construction and is due to open to international and domestic travellers in November 2023.

Julatten Hotel returns, better than ever

1 min·27 Jun, 2023

The Julatten Hotel reopened this past week, welcoming back the local community.

Following the Highlander Tavern’s closure in 2020, the pub was acquired in 2022 by Morris Hospitality, the hospitality arm of Morris Group that operates a number of tourism and hospitality venues across northern Queensland including The Ville Resort – Casino in Townsville, Orpheus Island Lodge, and Mount Mulligan Lodge.

The Julatten Hotel will return as a popular spot for locals and tourists to unwind with a new menu of popular classics including pizzas, burgers and steaks. Dishes include the whole tiger prawn bucket, the signature Julatten beef burger, the Nashville chicken burger and classic chicken parmi.

Working with a range of local suppliers, other menu highlights include Barramundi Gardens spring rolls, Port Douglas Smokehouse antipasti and grilled local Barramundi fillets.

On the drinks front, guests will be able to refresh themselves with a huge range of tap beers from CBCo Brewing and on weekends, live music will be a highlight with great local acts every Saturday from 5-8pm and Sunday 1-4pm.

The Julatten Hotel will be open Thursday – Sunday 11.30am to late and Wednesday 3pm to late.

Julatten Hotel

The Ville signs up to renewable energy

1 min·7 Mar, 2023

The Ville Resort-Casino has signed a renewable energy deal with CleanCo Queensland that will see the precinct powered by 100% renewable energy by 2025.

While a proportion of the property’s power already comes from renewables, the deal will see that ratio increased over the next two years to reach the 100% target.

The deal makes The Ville the first Townsville-based organisation to sign up for renewable energy from CleanCo, a government-owned electricity generation and trading company that’s fuelled by a mix of renewable energy and innovative energy solutions.

The Ville CEO Michael Jones said the partnership with CleanCo marked a significant milestone in the property’s sustainable business practices.

“We’re committed to reducing our emissions and impact on the environment and by partnering with CleanCo now, we’ll be able to ensure The Ville is 100% powered by renewable sources by 2025,” he said.

“We’re privileged to be in a location of great natural beauty with the Ville being on the doorstep to The Great Barrier Reef and overlooking the Coral Sea. By using sustainable business practices such as renewable energy, we’re contributing to protecting and preserving this environment for generations to come.”

Michael Jones, CEO, The Ville Resort – Casino

The Ville

Moda and Morris Hospitality submit plans for Isle of Wight Hotel redevelopment

3 Mins·15 Feb, 2023

Morris Hospitality and developers Moda have lodged an initial town planning application submission with Bass Coast Shire Council to bring back to life the iconic Isle of Wight Hotel, located on Phillip Island.

The proposed project aims to build a brand new hotel, dining and retail precinct, with a vision of revising a much-loved community focal point to be enjoyed by Phillip Island locals, holidaymakers and future generations alike.

Designed by award-winning Alexander & Co (Burleigh Pavilion, Manly Wharf Bar, Imperial Hotel), the proposed plans include a circa 160-room hotel, ground floor F&B facilities, a signature restaurant, a large-scale event space, a state-of-the-art wellness centre and a pool deck that will take in the spectacular north-facing views over the foreshore and Western Port.

A location rich in history, the 8600sqm plus parcel of land fronts The Esplanade and Bass Avenue and was once home to Phillip Island’s first hotel, the iconic Isle of Wight, which opened in 1870 before being destroyed by a fire in 1925 and again, in 2010.

Moda Managing Director Ed Farquharson said the proposed development would mark the welcome return of a landmark Phillip Island tourism destination.

“The Isle of Wight Hotel was an icon of Cowes for many decades. We’re looking forward to capturing the nostalgia and spirit of the original hotel and bringing it back to life with new energy for a whole new generation,”

Ed Farquharson, CEO, Moda

Isle of Wight render

“Along with returning The Isle of Wight Pub, our proposed development seeks to incorporate hotel accommodation, a dining precinct overlooking the beach, extensive event facilities, and a laneway retail precinct set to include a wellness centre and other speciality stores, providing an estimated $55-$76M boost to the local economy annually.”

Morris Hospitality Chief Executive Officer, Tim Fitzgerald said Morris Hospitality and Moda look forward to continuing to work constructively with council, recognising the catalytic nature of the development for the town and broader region.

“We’re excited to work with the community and council in bringing about a new era for tourism on the island, and raising the bar for what people can expect from accommodation, dining, and entertainment in regional Victoria,” he said.

“We anticipate the development will provide over 150 new employment opportunities in the region.”

The site was purchased in January 2021 by Moda Phillip Island Pty Ltd which comprises, Moda, Salta Capital and Tabet Development Group, with Morris Hospitality planning for a 2026 opening date.

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