I support the creation of a new hotel, but I don't agree with the idea that Sydney needs another casino.
The O'Farrell Government has given its tacit approval to James Packer's plans for a casino and hotel complex to be built on public land at Barangaroo. This is another example of appalling decisions being made by the big parties behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny.
Sydney's current casino, which already occupies a prime harbour-front piece of land, is just a short walk from Barangaroo and has recently had an $800 million upgrade. Visitors to Sydney who choose to stay at Barangaroo could easily walk around our beautiful harbour foreshore to gamble.
If Sydney is to have another casino, let's have proper public consultation and discussion before the decision is made. The right to run any new casino should be put through a tender process to ensure the public gets the best possible return.
(If you're worried about a second casino in Sydney, you can join this petition organised by GetUp!: http://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/pokies-reform/packers-pokies-palace)
The City's ability to influence the design and final outcome for Barangaroo has been limited by the State Government's decision to excise the land and put it directly under the control of the Premier.
I believe that big planning decisions that affect the future of our city should be made in full public view, and with the public's best interest at heart. The location of a new hotel and casino, now supposedly as high as 60 storeys, will have huge impacts on the rest of the Barangaroo development, particularly the area set aside for public open space.
I call on the developers, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and the State Government to come out from behind the closed doors, to ask the community what they want and to work with the City's planning and design experts to identify the right location and get the best possible outcome for the people of Sydney.