The NSW government has again refused to place Sydney’s iconic Sirius building on the state heritage list, paving the way for its demolition by developers.
Heritage Minister Gabrielle Upton on Wednesday said she had decided the brutalist social housing building was “not of state heritage significance”.
The state government wants to sell the site in The Rocks, near the Harbour Bridge, to developers who plan to replace it with hundreds of private apartments.
The decision marks the second time the government has refused to place the site on the State Heritage Register.
Then heritage minister Mark Speakman decided against listing the building in July 2016 because it would cause “undue financial hardship” for the building’s owners.
That decision was invalidated a year later by the Land and Environment Court which ruled the government had not properly considered a recommendation by the Heritage Council to list Sirius.
Acting Justice Simon Molesworth also concluded even if registering Sirius decreased its value that wouldn’t constitute financial hardship.
The court ordered the government pay costs to the Millers Point Community Association which is fighting the decision to sell off the controversial building.
The Heritage Council recommended in early 2016 that the building be placed on the register for both its aesthetic value and rarity, however, Ms Upton on Wednesday said she wasn’t convinced on either front.
“There are differing views in relation to whether or not the Sirius building is of aesthetic value at all, and the nature of that value,” she said.
Earlier this month, the building, which was completed in 1980, was added to the World Monuments Fund’s 2018 watch list.
Save our Sirius chairman Shaun Carter says the group will appeal the latest decision if possible.
“We will refer it to the Environmental Defenders Office and, if there’s a millimetre of space in this decision, we will appeal it to the Land and Environment Court,” Mr Carter told AAP on Wednesday, adding he was “disappointed but not surprised” by the decision.
“Something the government has failed to consider is this is a really delicate and sensitive part of town,” he said.