The West

Poker machines grow as part of hotel deal
Colin Barnett at the Burswood announcement. Picture: Michael O'Brien, The West Australian

The Barnett Government has backed a big expansion of the Burswood Entertainment Complex's gambling operations as part of a deal to deliver a new $568 million hotel for Perth touted as Australia's first six-star property.

The 25-storey Crown Towers Perth, bearing the same brand as Burswood owner Crown Limited's flagship hotels in Melbourne and Macau, will feature 400 luxury rooms, 100 suites, convention facilities for 1250 people, an expanded swimming pool and high-end retail and dining space. It will be linked to and built immediately north of the existing complex on part of the Burswood Park Golf Course.

The hotel, the third and most luxurious in Burswood's accommodation portfolio, is expected to open in the first half of 2016 and will help Crown Limited owner James Packer to market his revamped Perth operation to business travellers and high rollers in Australia, South East Asia and China.

The investment brings to $1.3 billion the amount Crown Limited has pumped into the refit and expansion of Burswood since buying the business for $900 million in 2004.

The Government believes the hotel will employ 700 people during construction and 500 on completion, earning WA an extra $5 million in annual payroll tax receipts.

Burswood will also contribute an extra $3 million a year to the Burswood Park levy, which pays for the upkeep of nearby parkland.

Under the deal, the State Government will give its backing to a Crown application to the Gaming and Wagering Commission for an additional 500 gaming machines and 130 gaming tables, to be phased in over the next five years.

The Government believes the expansion will generate an extra $52 million a year in casino tax.

Crown will purchase 5.8ha of golf course land abutting Burswood's northern boundary for $60 million from the Government - a significant discount to its unencumbered value of $95 million.

Premier Colin Barnett said the land would need to be remediated at Burswood's expense. He believed taxpayers were getting a good deal.

"Overall it's a very good financial deal for the State, but also a great deal in terms of jobs (and) a major new hotel," he said.

"I'm told it will be the best hotel in Australia by a significant margin and will do so much to overcome the shortage of high-quality hotel rooms in Perth."

Burswood chief Barry Felstead said a standard room at Crown Towers would be 50sqm, compared with 38sqm at the newly rebadged Crown Metropol (formerly the Intercontinental).

"We are very, very committed to Perth, we are very, very committed to tourism," Mr Felstead said.

"It will be a truly world-class, quality hotel." Tourism Minister Kim Hames said Crown Towers Perth would go a long way to addressing a shortage of hotel rooms.

Australian Hotels Association WA chief Bradley Woods said the investment was a huge vote of confidence in Perth's accommodation market.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan welcomed the project and said he supported the expansion of Burswood's gaming operations.

However, he renewed calls for Mr Packer to contribute financially to the nearby $1 billion major stadium project and said he "would have no problem" asking for such a contribution if he became Premier.

The West Australian

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