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Court bid to stop Seppeltsfield luxury hotel dismissed

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An appeal against the controversial $50 million Oscar Barossa luxury hotel development in the Barossa has been dismissed by the South Australian Environment, Resources and Development Court.

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Light Regional Council, which covers the western portion of the Barossa, will now progress with the assessment of the proposed development at Seppeltsfield.

The council had categorised the proposed 12-storey hotel as ‘tourist accommodation’ when plans were submitted in February last year, prompting locals to lodge the court action seeking it to be classified in a different category that would allow for greater public consultation.

However, their bid was dismissed this morning.

There is still no guarantee that the project will go ahead as it still needs council approval and is yet to finalise an international hotelier to run the 70-room six-star luxury hotel.

Project spokesman Toby Yap said the Oscar would attract new markets to the region and drive growth in the domestic and international visitor economy while creating an additional 363 construction jobs and 350 ongoing jobs for the region once operational.

“We have been overwhelmed by the public and industry support for this iconic tourism development and we are extremely confident that this destination will be a gamechanger for Australian regional tourism,” he said.

“We are 100 per cent committed to this $50 million investment in South Australia.

“South Australian Tourism Commission research has shown a real gap in the marketplace for high-end travellers, with only 28 out of 161 accommodation options being rated at four-stars or above.

“We are confident that the Oscar will fill this gap and set the global standard for luxury regional travel.”

A statement from the project team this morning said the Oscar Barossa at Seppeltsfield was expected to bring an additional $90 million in tourism expenditure to the region over the first five years.

It said the team had been in talks with leading intranational hoteliers and looked forward to announcing the operator soon.

The Seppeltsfield precinct is already one of the Barossa’s leading tourist destinations and includes the Seppeltsfield Cellar Door and Centennial Cellar, 1888 Gravity Cellar, Fino Restaurant, Jam Factory Craft and Design Studios, a cooperage and artisan knife maker.

Once a favourite with Chinese tourists, the Barossa has been without overseas visitors since the closure of international borders 16 months ago and its appeal among Chinese tourists is yet to be tested since China’s Ministry of Commerce announced its anti-dumping and countervailing investigations into bottled Australian wine exports to China last year.

Interim tariffs of between 116 and 218 per cent were introduced in November and are now in place for at least five more years.

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