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Saturday, 12 January 2013

Packer's Crown rewrites O'Farrell govt spin on casino assessment

Dr John Kaye

Media release: 12 January 2013

Crown Limited Chief Executive Officer Rowen Craigie was allowed to put a more favourable spin on Premier Barry O'Farrell's description of its unsolicited proposals assessment process for James Packer's Barangaroo
casino project.

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said that the documents released under NSW's freedom of information laws expose a dangerous level of bias in the assessment of the casino.

The draft of the Premier's October 2012 media release announcing the progress of Sydney's second casino to the next stage of the process, the changes sent back to the government by Mr Craigie and the final version can
be seen on the Sydney Morning Herald's website at http://j.mp/WKsDMn.

Dr Kaye said: "It would be one thing to let Crown smarten up the
description of its own project.

"It is an entirely different matter to have allowed James Packer's CEO to
rewrite the narrative on the government's approval process.

"Crown has been allowed to put words in the Premier's mouth that suggest a
far greater likelihood of success and a greater commitment to developing
and proceeding with the project.

"It is yet more evidence that the red carpet is being laid out for James

"The people of NSW thought they were reading Barry O'Farrell's description
of his government's unsolicited approvals process. Instead they were being
fed the applicant's spin.

"There is a dangerously close relationship between the O'Farrell government
and Mr Packer that feels a lot like some of the cosy connections that saw
Labor turfed out of office two years ago.

"NSW needs an informed debate over a second casino, not a stage-managed
show trial where Crown gets to control the description of the process and
its likelihood of success.

"The Greens are opposed to the proposal which will increase the state's
addiction to gambling," Dr Kaye said.

Background – Some of the changes proposed by Crown and accepted by the
O'Farrell government

O'Farrell's Draft:
The cabinet decision ''did not guarantee'' Crown a casino licence.
Crown's change which became part of final media release:
''did not necessarily guarantee''.

O'Farrell's Draft:
The announcement ''merely meant the decision would be examined in detail''.
Crown's change which became part of final media release:
''merely meant the proposal would be further assessed and developed in
conjunction with Crown''.

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