NSW government planning privatisation of Newcastle Port



  • Port sale expected to raise AU$700 million

The New South Wales (NSW) government has announced that it is planning to privatise the Port of Newcastle, its largest remaining port.

Conservative estimates value the port at around $700 million, with nearly half the proceeds from the sale, $340 million, to be allocated to a plethora of infrastructure projects in the city of Newcastle including a new light rail network, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Speaking on Tuesday, NSW state treasurer Mike Baird, as part of his budget strategy for the coming fiscal year, said that the government has also earmarked a further $120 million to help revitalise the city’s infrastructure.

Opposition leader John Robertson has been quick to voice his concerns of the proposals, which would see the port leased for a period of 99 years, calling on Farrell to revaluate his decision as the port is “a revenue-generating asset that belongs to the people of the Hunter.”

“It should not be sold off under any circumstances to pay for Sydney infrastructure projects,” Robertson told the Herald Sun on a visit to the Hunter region on Wednesday.

However, the O’Farrell government will point to the successful sale of the Port of Botany and Port Kembla in 2011 and 2012 respectively, which were sold for a combined total of $5.07 billion, well above the $3 billion previously anticipated. The funds will be used to create the WestConnex motorway, providing western Sydney with a direct link with the CBD and airport, and help in the upgrade of the Pacific Highway.

A decision on whether to privatise the Port of Newcastle will be confirmed when the state’s budget is announced next week.

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