Industry bodies slam Sydney’s Star Casino Ritz-Carlton rejection

The decision to reject plans for the Star’s $530 million Pyrmont casino tower sends a message to local and international investors that Sydney is “closed for business”, according to Tourism and Transport Forum’s CEO.

The Independent Planning Commission rejected plans for the Star’s 237-metre tower on Wednesday on the grounds that it was “overly obtrusive”.

The 66-storey building was considered “inconsistent with current strategic planning for the site and locality and fails to promote the orderly use and development of land” according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

“This is a sad day for Australian tourism,” Tourism and Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond said following the news.

“After four long years and millions of dollars invested on extensive consultation with the government, the community and stakeholders, for an unelected planning body to arrive at a decision like this is simply short-sighted.

“The city is crying out for more hotel accommodation and we can’t get enough luxury beds built.

“[The] decision by the Independent Planning Commission sends a message to local and international investors that Sydney, the Gateway to Australia is closed for business.”

The tower was initially rejected by the NSW Planning Department in July, but the Star Entertainment Group said it would push on despite the ruling.

Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson also expressed his disappointment over the decision.

“This decision is disappointing, as Sydney really needs new six-star hotels to attract the luxury traveller to keep our status as a global city,” he said.

“This is a lost opportunity, especially in the midst of the revitalisation of the Sydney CBD with light rail and the proposed removal of the lockouts.”

NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes told The Sydney Morning Herald the Independent Planning Commission’s rejection does not mean the door is closed on a new hotel and apartment tower in Pyrmont.