STRICT guidelines for determining when private proposals to the NSW government can bypass a competitive tender process were watered down shortly before James Packer put forward his plan for a $1 billion hotel and casino at Barangaroo.
It can be revealed that a requirement for ”independent evaluations” of a project to justify not going to tender were removed two weeks before the proposal by Mr Packer’s Crown Ltd was formally lodged with the state government on September 6.
Well connected … James Packer. Photo: Andrew Meares
The change was made on August 17, a week after the Premier, Barry O’Farrell, met Mr Packer to discuss his proposal.
The revelation will place more pressure on Mr O’Farrell to justify not putting to tender a possible second Sydney casino licence being pursued by Mr Packer, which could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to NSW.