Royal Botanic Gardens no place for a five star, multi storey hotel

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Sydney's precious Royal Botanic Gardens are no place for a five star, multi storey hotel, Labor’s Shadow Environment Minister Luke Foley said today.

Mr Foley said the proposal the Gardens floated today is the latest evidence that the commercialisation of Sydney's Botanic Gardens is rife under the O'Farrell Government.

“The Royal Botanic Gardens is a botanical institution. Its core purposes are to provide green space to the people of Sydney and to increase our knowledge and appreciation of Australia’s plant life,” Mr Foley said.

“I cannot see how a hotel development in any way complies with the objects of the Royal Botanic Gardens Trust Act.

“Environment Minister Robyn Parker recently merged the operation of the Gardens with Centennial and Moore Parks. The concern I expressed in the parliament earlier this year is the Botanic Gardens unique status would be downgraded as a result of the merger.

“Make no mistake - the merger was simply a cost cutting measure.

“Labor Premier Neville Wran had the vision to establish the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in 1980, giving it control over its own affairs.

“Today's announcement of a planned hotel for the Botanic Gardens confirms that commercialisation of the Gardens will only increase in the merged organisation.

“The voices of botanists, plant scientists and horticulturalists will be drowned out by the construction planners and commercial event organisers.

“This hotel proposal should be rejected,” Mr Foley said.