Claim money men burnt midnight oil over deal – Newcastle Herald

By IAN KIRKWOOD

BANKERS worked through the night to finish the $1.75billion lease of the Port of Newcastle before the state funeral of former premier Neville Wran, the Australian Financial Review reported on Saturday.

But another event held Sydney’s attention on the day of the funeral, in the form of port-related evidence given to the Independent Commission Against Corruption by former Newcastle MP Jodi McKay.

According to the AFR story, the bankers had to rush to finish the deal to meet a deadline of 2pm on Wednesday, April 30.

‘‘ … getting the deal completed before Wran’s funeral made it tough to arrange the financing of interest rate swaps,’’ the AFR wrote.

But Canberra public affairs consultant Greg Cameron, who believes the former Newcastle steelworks site should be a container terminal, said yesterday that  speeding up such a  deal for a funeral did not make sense.

‘‘It’s an insult to taxpayers to say we will wrap this up quickly to get to a funeral, and it’s an insult to the memory of Neville Wran,’’ Mr Cameron said.

He said ICAC controversy over even part of the port could have worried a prospective buyer.

A spokesman for Premier Mike Baird said  the AFR story was ‘‘complete garbage’’.