Mr Baird said suitably qualified parties would now be invited to participate in a competitive bidding process for the Port, which is expected to conclude by mid-2014.
“The market response to the Port of Newcastle reflects the confidence we have seen in the sale and lease of other State-owned assets under the NSW Government,” said Mr Baird.
Mr Baird said if the transaction was successful, $340 million of the proceeds would be directed towards the revitalisation of central Newcastle, to which the Government has already committed $120 million.
“These transactions are essential in enabling the NSW Government to invest in critically needed infrastructure, including the much-needed revitalisation of central Newcastle.
“The lease of the Port will guarantee a total of $460 million for Newcastle, allowing us to turbo-charge this priority project for the city,” said Mr Baird.
“The long term lease of the Port of Newcastle clearly demonstrates the immense and lasting benefit these transactions bring to communities and to the broader State economy.”
Mr Baird said public access to the Port would not change as a result of the lease, and existing regulatory oversight in areas such as price monitoring and the environment would remain in place.