NSW Ports Minister Eric Roozendaal says the State Government is committed to a multi-purpose terminal (MPT) in the Port of Newcastle.
There has been speculation the project has been abandoned, after the Port Corporation announced last week it had been unable to find a suitable private investor.
The Port Corporation says it will enter into discussions with existing port customers looking to expand onto the 40 hectare former BHP site at Mayfield.
Mr Roozendaal says the private proposals were not up to the expected standard, and when it goes ahead, the terminal must be world class.
“We’re still committed to the MPT but we’ll have to look at a new model to ensure that we get the best possible facilities there,” he said.
But the president of the Hunter Business Chamber, Kyle Loades, says the Government has stunted growth in Newcastle by committing to the expansion of other ports.
“The Government is putting their money into Port Botany and Port Kembla and zero into the Hunter,” he said.
Mr Roozendaal says the decision to reject the private proposals has nothing to do with the proposed expansion of Port Botany.
The Opposition’s Hunter spokesman, Mike Gallacher, says the site is vital to the growth of Newcastle’s economy and must be put to good use.
“It’s a huge piece of land that needs to be put into a good, viable resource for this area, to create jobs and to make sure the economy continues,” he said.
“We’re going to fight tooth and nail and if that means perhaps coming into conflict over Wollongong in the future with our colleagues down there in the future, I can tell you Robyn Parker and I will be fighting as strong as we can to make sure that that land is preserved and used properly for this economy.”