Newcastle Port cash clamour

WINDFALL: Newcastle Port.
WINDFALL: Newcastle Port.

COMMUNITY groups, politicians and civic leaders have called on the state government to hand over more cash to the Hunter following the successful 98-year lease of the port.

Last week the state government announced it would lease the port for $1.75 billion - more than double its initial public estimate - to Hastings Funds Management and China Merchants.

Newcastle will receive its promised $340 million from the lease to spend on light rail for the CBD but many have called on the state government to spend more money on infrastructure across the whole region.

Projects on the wish list include the Glendale interchange, Newcastle post office's revitalisation, the redevelopment of Newcastle Art Gallery and faster train services to Sydney.

Newcastle federal MP Sharon Claydon condemned the state government for its "paltry commitment" to Newcastle.

"On the initial sale estimate we were due to receive about half of the proceeds . . . now to receive confirmation that this has been cut to less than one fifth is a disgrace," she said.

"I don't think any Novocastrian would believe that sending 80 per cent of our port's profits to Sydney is either smart or fair."

Hunter Business Chamber president Richard Anicich said light rail funding would kickstart the much-needed rebuild of Newcastle. He said the chamber would work with government to help ensure proceeds were distributed more broadly across the region.

Hunter Development Corporation chairman Paul Broad said the port lease was a great example of what could be achieved by recycling assets.