Government sells out Sydney Harbour NYE vantage point at expense of families

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The Baird Liberal Government is quietly attempting to restrict public access to a prime New Year’s Eve vantage point overlooking Sydney Harbour in a blatant cash grab.

The Government has quietly put out a tender to allow a private company to operate a ticketed VIP event in the Tarpeian Way area of the Royal Botanic Gardens at a price guide of $400 a ticket.

The 14,000 square metre precinct has traditionally been open to more than 3,000 spectators in exchange for a “gold coin donation” with a section closed off for a further 1,500 at a VIP event.

Under the plan, Mrs Macquarie’s Point will be the only venue in the Royal Botanic Gardens open to the public on New Year’s Eve.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley said this was simply a cash grab from the NSW Government that would lock out many families from one of the best New Year’s Eve vantage points.

“This is just a cash grab by the Government at the expense of families who want to catch a glimpse of Sydney’s world famous New Year’s Eve entertainment,” Mr Foley said.

“Hundreds of families have previously been able to access this area to enjoy the fireworks for just a gold coin donation. Now the Government is attempting to shut this area off from families in favour of an exclusive and expensive VIP event.  

“Families shouldn’t have to fork out hundreds of dollars to access the Botanic Gardens on New Year’s Eve. This is public space and the public should have access.”

Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said this was part of a disturbing trend by this Government to commercialise the Royal Botanic Gardens.

“Last year the Government put out plans to put a hotel in the Gardens,” Ms Sharpe said. 

“Now they are locking families out of one of the best viewing points available for our world famous New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“I’m very concerned that this is the tip of the iceberg. This year the public are locked out of the Tarpeian Precinct on New Year’s Eve - next it could be the areas like Mrs Macquarie’s Point.”