The government of New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state, announced today that it will lease the country’s second-largest port – Port Botany – to raise money to fund other infrastructure projects across the state.
Port Botany will be privatised under a 99-year lease and is expected to net the NSW government “somewhere between A$1.8 billion (€1.35 billion; $1.89 billion) and A$2.2 billion,” state treasurer Mike Baird told reporters following the presentation of NSW’s budget for 2011-2012. However, the tender process is only expected to commence on October 2012, finishing in mid-2013, the government said.
“The Port Botany assets include three container terminals with six container vessel berths, increasing to 11 berths upon completion of the Terminal 3 expansion project in 2012, and a bulk liquids berth,” Baird said, adding: “The recent A$2.1 billion transaction of a 99-year lease to operate the Port of Brisbane demonstrated strong private sector interest in operating port facilities and the value that can be realised for taxpayers.”
Last November, a consortium including Global Infrastructure Partners, Industry Funds Management, Queensland Investment Corporation and a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority won the A$2.1 billion, 99-year lease for the Port of Brisbane.
The NSW budget presentation also contained an update on the upcoming privatisation of the A$2 billion Sydney Desalination Plant, operated by state-backed Sydney Water. Baird said he expected expressions of interest for the deal later this year, with the transaction to be completed by mid-2012. KPMG, Mallesons Stephan Jaques, and Goldman Sachs are advising the government on the sale.
Proceeds from the asset sales “will be invested in Restart NSW – the fund established by the NSW government to deliver vital infrastructure projects,” Baird explained.