Of­fi­cial de­fends re­jec­tion of tower

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

A SE­NIOR state gov­ern­ment plan­ning bu­reau­crat says is­sues with The Star’s con­tro­ver­sial Ritz-Carl­ton Ho­tel de­vel­op­ment were iden­ti­fied be­fore the March elec­tion.

And, ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment’s plan­ning and as­sess­ment deputy sec­re­tary Mar­cus Ray, the ad­vice did not change.

“The depart­ment did not change di­rec­tion when as­sess­ing The Star City Casino Tower pro­posal,” he said.

“The tower was rec­om­mended for re­fusal be­cause it was iso­lated, overly prom­i­nent, and un­re­lated to its con­text within Pyr­mont.

“These is­sues were iden­ti­fied early, and the depart­ment did not change its ad­vice be­fore or after the NSW state elec­tion.”

The state­ment comes amid ques­tions over whether the depart­ment changed di­rec­tion after the elec­tion. There has also been spec­u­la­tion the re­jec­tion of the $500 mil­lion tower was part of a se­cret pre­elec­tion deal be­tween the gov­ern­ment and in­de­pen­dent Alex Greenwich, who has spo­ken against the de­vel­op­ment.

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