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Chair of casino assessment team appointed


NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has appointed an independent chairman to oversee the next stage of James Packer's bid for a new Sydney casino.

David Murray, former chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank, will be in charge of the assessment team looking at the Crown Limited proposal for a $1 billion hotel and VIP gaming resort at Barangaroo.

Mr O'Farrell stressed that the move to the second stage of the government's unsolicited proposals process "does not necessarily guarantee final approval" of the complex.

"I am determined to act in the best interests of taxpayers and that's why the NSW government has appointed a respected businessman like David Murray," he said.

"The appointment of Mr Murray as independent chair will give the community confidence in the process and probity of the consideration of the Crown proposal."

The casino will only be approved if the review team finds that it will "deliver positive net benefits and a fair return for NSW taxpayers", the premier stressed.

Mr Murray was chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia from 1992 to 2005 and has more recently been chairman of the Future Fund. He stepped down from that role last April.

He now acts as a senior adviser for Credit Suisse and is the chairman of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds.

Mr Murray, who was made an officer in the Order of Australia in 2007, was born in NSW and lives in Sydney with his family.