Mike Baird met with James Packer months earlier than Barangaroo cope with Crown, inquiry hears | Crown Resorts

Former New South Wales premier Mike Baird met with James Packer three months earlier than the federal government struck an settlement that paved the way in which for the billionaire’s Crown to safe main concessions for its Barangaroo improvement.

A parliamentary inquiry into potential bias within the multibillion-dollar Sydney harbourside venture heard on Friday that one of many points on the agenda for the February 2015 assembly was useful “sight strains” over the harbour from the precinct.

“There was restricted dialogue that I can recall really particularly concerning the sight strains,” Baird informed the inquiry.

“There was angst concerning the time it had taken the federal government to deal with a variety of points.”

However in Could 2015, the federal government’s Barangaroo authority agreed with Crown and the south precinct’s different developer, Lendlease, that it might negotiate “in good religion” any adjustments to the plans that may have an effect on views of the Sydney Opera Home and Harbour Bridge.

Finally, that settlement led to a supreme court docket case that the federal government misplaced, leading to Crown and Lendlease getting assured views along with a swathe of additional ground house and different concessions as a part of a secret 2019 settlement with the federal government.

Baird, who was premier from April 2014 till January 2017, denied the federal government “gave the sight strains away”.

“For Crown and Lendlease, I used to be not on their Christmas card record,” he informed the inquiry.

The inquiry additionally heard a potential metro station at Barangaroo was flagged with Crown forward of the February assembly, regardless of that plan not being publicly introduced till 4 months later.

The committee’s chair, Mark Latham, mentioned the metro plan, which had enormous advantages for the builders, was “like successful Lotto [and] definitely deserving of a Christmas card”.

Baird denied giving Packer or Crown any commercially delicate info, telling the inquiry that every one negotiations on the Barangaroo venture had been carried out pretty to realize the most effective final result.

He additionally mentioned he wasn’t concerned in any dialogue with both get together concerning the peak of Crown’s tower, which was controversially elevated from its authentic 170 metres to 275m in 2015.

Labor’s Anthony D’Adam mentioned: “We give them an additional 100m of peak, we give them unimpeded sight strains in a contractually binding association. I’m not clear what we get as a public.”

Earlier, the inquiry heard a 2019 deed between the federal government and Lendlease to settle disputes over delays and sight strains at Barangaroo south gave Lendlease and Crown a “improvement bonus” of 8,000sq m of additional ground house and different beneficial phrases.

Grocon, which gained the tender for the adjoining Barangaroo central venture however went into administration in 2019, mentioned the additional ground house alone was value $300m to the builders.

Its chief government, Daniel Grollo, accused the federal government of being responsible of unconscionable conduct in promoting the identical sight strains twice and refusing to offer his firm certainty over views from Barangaroo central.

“They adopted unreasonable positions, induced intensive delay, weren’t clear,” he informed the inquiry.

Grollo mentioned his firm was repeatedly informed it might get a discover of sight strains – which was important for promoting components of the event – however this was delayed till 2019.

By then, Grocon was in monetary hassle after the delays and it later went into voluntary administration.

Tom Mackellar, the managing director of Lendlease’s improvement enterprise in Australia, mentioned his firm hadn’t obtained any beneficial therapy and was additionally considerably delayed at varied levels after successful a aggressive tender for the venture in 2009.

The parliamentary committee is wanting into precise or perceived biases throughout negotiations between the federal government, Lendlease and Crown.

The inquiry will try to seek out out why the Barangaroo Supply Authority appeared to have bought Sydney Harbour sight strains twice, to Grocon and to Crown and Lendlease.