The NSW Government will set aside funds from a new round of asset recycling to upgrade Sydney’s iconic Circular Quay wharves, Premier Mike Baird, Minister for Transport Andrew Constance and Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet announced today.
“Circular Quay should be the jewel of Sydney Harbour and today we are committing at least $200 million to make it shine,” Mr Baird said.
“We’re working at a rapid pace to deliver Tomorrow’s Sydney and everywhere you look there are cranes in the sky and construction sites in full swing.”
The $200 million in funding for the upgrade will be reserved in the NSW Government’s infrastructure fund, Restart NSW.
The funds will be generated by the divestment of some select assets currently held by the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) deemed to be not of long term strategic importance.
A review of control and ownership of government-owned lands around Sydney Harbour has revealed duplication and inefficiency, and has led to the decision by the Government to consolidate SHFA’s functions to other agencies, principally Government Property NSW and Destination NSW.
“The Government is currently examining the most appropriate land use planning, heritage, and management framework for The Rocks precinct in consultation with the Commonwealth Government.”
All SHFA staff have been transferred to the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation.
SHFA assets targeted for divestment will be the Shangri-La and Four Seasons hotels in the Sydney CBD, the Novotel and Mercure hotels at Darling Harbour and commercial offices at Darling Quarter.
Mr Perrottet said, “There is absolutely no reason in the 21st century why the NSW Government needs to be the landlord for these luxury hotels.”
“The review has identified a number of non-core government buildings in The Rocks area that may also be suitable for divestment, but this would be subject to a review and potential strengthening of heritage conservation controls.
“What is non-negotiable is that there will be no loss of heritage through this process,” Mr Perrottet said.
Mr Constance said, “Circular Quay should be a window to our beautiful harbour, but after years of neglect, this gateway to the city is simply not up to scratch.”
“Circular Quay is nestled between two Australian icons, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, but at the moment it’s not realising its full potential.”
He said a range of options would be considered for Circular Quay, including upgrades to the ferry wharves to make them modern and accessible, all the way through to a complete revamp that could include double-storey wharves with new retail facilities.
Construction is expected to begin in 2019.