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Silence on gaming and racing in NSW

Wed, Jul 31, 8:00am by Staff Writer

There is a stunning bipartisan agreement between the Australian Coalition and Labor when it comes to protecting gambling interest, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

One sure-fire way to reduce the scrutiny on ministers is to simply remove any reference to the issue from their titles.

Perhaps that’s why neither the New South Wales government, nor the opposition, has found room on their expansive frontbenches for a gaming and racing minister. Out of sight, out of mind.

Technically the Nationals’ Kevin Anderson has responsibility for those matters, but you wouldn’t know it from his euphemistic title, the Minister for Better Regulation.

Tracking down Labor’s gaming spokesperson is even more difficult.

At first, CBD was told Labor’s shadow ministry mirrors the government’s.

But the list shows there is no shadow minister for Better Regulation.

Then, Opposition Leader Jodi McKay’s office told us they “think” the relevant spokesperson is Sophie Cotsis, the shadow minister for better public services.

Let’s hope McKay can figure it out before she fronts up on ABC Radio, when she will be grilled about the Herald and 60 Minutes investigation into Crown Resorts.

That’s despite some resistance to the topic from McKay’s minders.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian – back from holidays for the start of parliamentary sittings – was asked on Monday about the Crown controversy and its Sydney expansion,

She assured reporters the Barangaroo casino would have to adhere to “the strictest regulations”.

Her spinners described it as a “high level” answer – a new way of describing a response that doesn’t actually answer the question.

Star to slash 400 jobs

The Star Entertainment group will cut 400 jobs within days after announcing its VIP spend at its casinos – including its flagship Sydney casino – is plummeting.

In its annual results out yesterday, the Star Entertainment Group admitted VIP spending would fall by 31 per cent in the six months to June, forecasting an $18 million profit downgrade.

The ABC reports that following the group’s results, market commentators have questioned the viability of Crown’s massive new Barangaroo Sydney casino – and its VIP focus – which will come online in 2021.

Commenting on the results, the Star also blamed the impact of “disruption from capital works” at its Sydney site for its soft numbers.

Car parking issues at Crown Sydney

Crown’s $2 billion casino tower at Barangaroo would have nearly four times the amount of car parking as similar developments, according to objections raised by the City of Sydney over revised plans for the site.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the city’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore has recently been critical of Crown’s plans to increase the number of apartments and parking spaces at the 71-storey casino and residential complex being built on the harbour foreshore.

The council elaborated on its opposition to the changes to the project in its submission to the plans.

The desired changes would see the tower’s overall size stay the same, but the footprint of some of the residences reduced to fit 21 extra apartments, raising the number of units to 87.

The number of parking spaces would also grow by 31 to a total of 641 parking spaces – an amount the City of Sydney says is “excessive and counter to sound urban planning and concept plan principles.”

Under the revised plans, there would be 37 fewer visitor spaces, but an additional 21 valet spaces and 47 residential spaces.

An extra 19 bicycle parking spaces would be provided.

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