A recent independent review of the planning process surrounding Barangaroo found it had been bedevilled by perceived conflicts of interest, lacked transparency and had led to a breakdown of trust with key groups. So Sydneysiders are justified in feeling wary about proposals that appear out of the blue.
There's history in NSW of deals being done over Premiers' desks.
Everyone expects that a development as significant as Barangaroo would be made to go through a proper planning process so I welcome the Premier's commitment to transparency and consultation and call on him to involve the public before further endorsing any more massive changes to this site.
I strongly agree that Sydney needs a new, first class hotel - something that has long been identified for this site - but not in this proposed location.
All the research and work done so far shows that the public foreshore land in central Barangaroo should contain the cultural, educational facilities and, to complement the Headland Park, a Domain style active recreation space for the 23,000 people who will work in the precint and the 33,000 people who will visit the site each day.
This principle ensures that the historic areas of Millers Point and The Rocks are protected.
In fact, the intense development at Barangaroo South was a trade off for the 50 per cent parklands from day one. This should not be tampered with.
There is room for a world class hotel in a site the City identified in southern Barangaroo adjacent to the high rise commercial buildings.
While some argue that a casino is better than active recreation space, the Government needs to ensure all ideas and opinions are put through the proper process - that the community is consulted and that planning principles for the site are valued and maintained.
NSW has a one casino policy until 2019. The existing casino is within walking distance from Barangaroo and has recently undergone an $850 million refurbishment.
Barangaroo is so significant it should be developed with the people of NSW in mind, as well as international tourists.
We should be aiming for it to sit alongside other iconic developments like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
It would be tragic if the Government sacrificed the planning and quality design principles that should drive a redevelopment like Barangaroo.
Such mistakes can rarely be undone.