Statement from Mayor Fitzpatrick: Sapphire of Eden and Hotel Australasia

I would like to address the media statement made by Mr Toma from Core Asset Development about Council’s handling of the development applications for the Hotel Australasia and Sapphire of Eden.

27 September 2022

I would like to address the media statement made by Mr Toma from Core Asset Development about Council’s handling of the development applications for the Hotel Australasia and Sapphire of Eden.

Council has been supportive of these two developments since their inception. Staff prioritised both of the original development applications, and are currently reviewing the modification for the Sapphire of Eden and the second development application for the Hotel Australasia.

As Mr Palasty and Mr Toma would be aware, there is a proper planning process that must be followed in assessing development applications. Until a development consent is granted or a modification application approved, there are no guarantees and work cannot commence.

At all times, Council staff have acted, and continue to act, in good faith. I can categorically deny all claims that staff have deliberately slowed or poorly handled the applications – this is categorically untrue.

Mr Palasty chose to set and announce opening dates for the Hotel Australasia before his second DA had been assessed. That is his prerogative, but Council did not agree to being able to meet an opening date.

Mr Palasty has repeatedly undertaken unapproved works at the Hotel Australasia, and has blatantly ignored orders to cease unapproved works.

Mr Palasty agreed to a condition requiring the construction of a roundabout for the Sapphire of Eden development. Council staff had advised Mr Palasty they would consider a modification application to remove the roundabout condition if Core Asset Development could provide evidence that the development did not trigger the need for a roundabout. These conversations are ongoing.

Mr Palasty has a valid consent to start work at the Sapphire of Eden site – yet he has chosen not to commence. Instead, he has initiated proceedings in the Land and Environment Court for deemed refusal of the modification application.

We have made it very clear to Mr Palasty and other developers looking to invest in our shire that we currently have a significant increase in development applications, coupled with a shortage of planners, which is affecting our turnaround times on all DAs – we have been open and upfront about this.

We have also been very clear on the reasons for turnaround times on DAs – all of which are outside our control. We lost 467 homes in the Black Summer bushfires and rebuilding following such a traumatic experience takes time. We also have an unprecedented increase in development in the shire – from mums and dads looking to build a family home, to older people looking to downsize into a manageable property, to people who are moving into the area now they can work from anywhere thanks to the lessons we’ve learnt from the global pandemic, to property developers looking to put the shire on the map.

These challenges are being faced by many councils across NSW, and while we have re-allocated resourcing to expand our development assessment capacity, there is a significant shortage of planners across NSW.

While we greatly appreciate the interest in our shire by developers, we also need to balance the interests of the mums and dads, older people, and other smaller scale but still important development.

Council has a duty to the community to maintain the integrity of the planning process and will not be pressured into making rash decisions.

Our staff work extremely hard to process and support development applications, and to attack their integrity due to multiple factors outside their control is downright appalling.

When people resort to name calling, you have to wonder why.

Was this helpful?

Making an enquiry

All media enquiries and interview requests are coordinated by Council's Communication and Events team under the adopted Communications Policy. To view this policy, visit Public Policies and search 'communications'.

To submit a media enquiry or to request an interview:


Councillors can be contacted directly for enquiries regarding decisions of the elected Council and non-operational matters. Interviews with the Mayor should be arranged through the Communication and Events team contact details above.

Receiving information

If you’re a journalist or media organisation that would like to receive media releases and notifications about media opportunities, please email your name, title and contact details to and we will add you to our distribution list.

You can also subscribe to Bega Valley Together and Business News, Council's fortnightly e-newsletters, or follow @begavalleyshirecouncil on Facebook  and Instagram.

Contact Us