The News Wrap: James Packer’s Sydney casino project progresses to next stage

James Packer’s proposal to build a six-star hotel and high roller casino at Sydney’s Barangaroo has been waved through to the next stage of the NSW government’s approval process, beating out rival Echo Entertainment’s plans to redevelop its own casino, The Star.

 

Echo is expected to push ahead with some of its redevelopment plans and push its VIP business harder, despite losing its bid to block Packer’s plans.

 

“The committee think it is likely that Echo would be motivated to undertake at least some of its published strategic investment plans in response to the introduction of competition, whether its proposal was successful or not,” the committee assessing the proposals said in a report.

 

Gas policies needed

 

State and federal governments need to consider policies to ensure Australia’s domestic gas market is not hurt as large export liquid natural gas projects begin to soak up the resource, The Australian reports.

 

The Australian Pipeline Industry Association argues in a position paper that governments need to consider forward-thinking policies to ensure Australia makes the most of its gas reserves.

 

 

It warns that policies are needed to avoid the potential for “market failure” with unsustainably high gas prices in domestic markets that would hurt the manufacturing, agriculture and construction sectors.

 

European Central Bank to keep interest rates down

 

The European Central Bank has broken with precedent and declared it would keep interest rates at record lows for an extended period and could cut further because of market volatility since the US Federal Reserve said planned to slow its stimulus measures.

 

“The Governing Council expects the key ECB rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time,” ECB president Mario Draghi told a news conference after the ECB left interest rates at 0.5%, calling it a “very significant step”.

 

Draghi did not say exactly how long ECB rates would stay at record lows. “It’s not six months, it’s not 12 months. It’s an extended period of time.”

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.38% at 14,988.55 points. The Australian dollar is down 0.04% at US91.44 cents.

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