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The first-stage approval of James Packer's $1 billion hotel and casino has been criticised by people across the political spectrum, including former federal Liberal leader John Hewson, who has questioned the "probity of process".
Premier Barry O'Farrell on Thursday announced that Mr Packer's plan for a "six-star" hotel and VIP gaming resort at Sydney's Barangaroo had moved to the second stage of the state government's "unsolicited proposals" process.
A more detailed proposal from Crown Ltd will now be considered by the government panel, and if that is approved and a binding offer made, all that stands between Mr Packer and his casino dream is a vote in NSW parliament.
But with the Labor opposition also backing the Crown casino plan, the passage of laws to allow a second licence is considered an inevitability.
Dr Hewson questioned why there was no tender for the second casino, which if approved, would begin operation once the exclusive licence held by Echo Entertainment and The Star expires in 2019.
"I think most people want it not only to be a defined process but to appear to be a defined process," Dr Hewson told ABC radio on Friday.
"The problem here is that people perceive that Packer's bulldozed this through.
"This is sort of chipping away at the whole integrity of government process."
Dr Hewson said it was "the height of arrogance" for Mr Packer to tell a function in Sydney on Thursday night that if there had been a tender process, his proposal would have won.
"It pre-judges the processes of government and it's not clear to me that an international gaming group wouldn't have been an effective competitor," Dr Hewson said.
"There's that sort of arrogance. There's two sets of rules - one for the Packers and one for the rest of us."
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said she was appalled by the approval process for the Packer project, which should never have cleared the first stage of the approval process without public consultation.
"There's no public consultation and it's all been done behind closed doors by both the major parties to James Packer," she told ABC Radio on Friday.
"It's public land. It's probably one of the most important sites in Australia.
"Here we have a situation: major, major development where there's no tendering.
"I just think the people of Sydney will be appalled by what's going on."
NSW Greens MP Jamie Parker said "the deals that are being proceeded with by this government stink".
"We're seeing the casino being put forward without proper strategic planning, without regard to the community, without even a tender," he told reporters in Sydney.
Based on information provided by and with the permission of the Western Australian Land Information Authority (2013) trading as Landgate.