Author: By MICHELLE HARRIS State Political Reporter
A $600 MILLION proposal to redevelop the BHP steelworks site for port uses, including a container terminal, will be considered as part of the case being mounted for plans to lease Sydney’s Port Botany.
A spokesman for NSW Ports Minister Duncan Gay said yesterday that an announcement on a Newcastle container terminal would be made after the scoping study for the Port Botany transaction, due to the government early this year, is completed.
But financial advisers are also expected to consider whether to lift a cap on container movements on Port Botany’s operator, Sydney Ports Corporation.
Last week, Premier Barry O’Farrell threw the spotlight back on a container terminal for Newcastle when a government panel led by his department rejected a proposal from the Nathan Tinkler-owned Hunter Ports for a $2.5 billion coal-loader at the Mayfield site.
He said last week the government wanted to maintain the existing long-term strategy for diversifying Newcastle harbour.
In line with the former Labor government’s port strategy, the Newcastle Port Corporation has long earmarked the land for the state’s next container terminal once Port Botany reached capacity.
The Sydney Ports Corporation has an annual cap of 3.2 million container movements. This will also be considered as part of the scoping study of a 99-year lease of Port Botany, through which the government hopes to raise about $2 billion.
A consortium involving Newcastle Stevedores and Anglo Ports had submitted to the former Labor government a $600 million private-sector development proposal that would entail various uses for the Mayfield site, including container freight.
Mr Gay’s spokesman said the Minister considered Newcastle Port Corporation’s Mayfield concept plan, which is similar to the Anglo Ports proposal and includes a container terminal, to be the best use of the land.