ICAC UPDATE: The treasurer, the Buildev director and the V8 supercars

Eric Roozendaal leaves the independent Commision Against Corruption. Picture: Daniel Munoz
Eric Roozendaal leaves the independent Commision Against Corruption. Picture: Daniel Munoz

Treasurer Eric Roozendaal invited a Buildev director to a government suite at a V8 supercars event as the part Nathan Tinkler-owned company was pushing him to kill off a rival container terminal development proposed for a site where it wanted to build a billion-dollar coal loader.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption also heard on Tuesday Mr Roozendaal met several times with Buildev representatives, including over a lunch at the restaurant Sake in The Rocks, before it focused its attention on members of the incoming Coalition government.

Buildev was intent on ensuring the outgoing Labor government didn't endorse the container terminal proposed for the former Mayfield steelworks site before the government entered caretaker mode ahead of the 2011 state election, the inquiry heard.

And it succeeded, with no official endorsement ever given to the container project, which had been on the drawing board for the Port of Newcastle for years and the subject of an expressions of interest campaign run by the Newcastle Port Corporation.

"Ultimately the government decided not to make a decision in haste," Buildev director David Sharpe told the inquiry.

"...You're talking about Eric Roozendaal aren't you?"  Counsel assisting the inquiry Geoffrey Watson SC asked.

"Well he's the decision-maker I guess," Mr Sharpe said.

Documents tendered to the inquiry show Mr Roozendaal, in his official capacity as Treasurer, invited Buildev director Darren Williams to a government suite at the Sydney Telstra 500 V8 event in December 2010.

Mr Sharpe told the inquiry Buildev met with Mr Roozendaal about five times in relation to its proposal.

In a January 2011 email, Mr Sharpe queried of Mr Williams: "what time will Eric get there as Nathan wants to get see eric".

In February 2011, Mr Tinkler wrote to Mr Sharpe "I just want this thing fukn approved so we can move on".

"Typical fukn Newcastle cant [sic] ever get out of its own way, we couldnt [sic] make more of a f--k up of it than NCIG," Mr Tinkler wrote, referring to the BHP-dominated existing coal loader operator Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group.

Mr Sharpe also told how former deputy prime minister Mark Vaile, who was chairman of Mr Tinkler's Aston Resources, introduced Buildev to NSW National Party leader, now deputy premier, Andrew Stoner.

Mr Sharpe said he was a guest of Aston Resources at a dinner at Sydney restaurant Rockpool Bar and Grill with future ports minister and Nationals MLC Duncan Gay and Mr Stoner.

He said they discussed Buildev's projects while Aston "were talking about Maules Creek" [coalmine].

Mr Sharpe said he also met with senior Liberal and MLC Mike Gallacher to discuss its plans, and met once with Liberal MP Mike Baird, now the Premier.

The inquiry has previously heard the Buildev directors and their families attended a New Year's Eve function allegedly intended to raise money for Mr Gallacher, and paid $7000, despite being banned as a developer from making political donations.

The inquiry is continuing.

Anti-Labor flyers and Newell art 'gift'


Jodi McKay

Jodi McKay

Joe Tripodi

Joe Tripodi

FORMER NSW minister Joe Tripodi's "eyes and ears" in Newcastle, Ann Wills, has admitted she knew that Nathan Tinkler's company Buildev was funding an anti-Labor campaign in Newcastle in the lead-up to the 2011 state election.

The former Labor staffer told the Independent Commission Against Corruption this week that anti-Labor flyers were printed in western Sydney to hide Buildev's involvement in the campaign.

It is illegal for developers to donate to NSW state election candidates or run anonymous political campaigns after the writs for a state election have been issued.

Mr Tripodi and Ms Wills helped design the flyers and had them distributed to thousands of homes across the city. Newcastle MP Jodi McKay narrowly lost the seat to Tim Owen.

Ms Wills agreed she was feeding propaganda to journalists to support Buildev's case for a coal terminal in Newcastle, which Ms McKay did not support.

She also said Mr Tripodi may have been working with Buildev to secure a job after the 2011 election, which he planned to contest.

Her testimony comes after another heated week at the commission.

Late last week, former Charlestown state MP Andrew Cornwell and his wife Samantha Brookes were accused of "covering lies with more lies" when they took to the stand for the second time in two weeks.

Artist Rex Newell gave damning evidence against the pair, after a painting he donated became the centrepiece of a "sham" to disguise illegal campaign donations.

Newell told the ICAC that Andrew Cornwell's father, Brien, asked him for a painting as a donation to Andrew's campaign.

Typically his paintings sold for about $2000 to $3000, and Newell was quite surprised to hear Perrin's Boatshed sold for $10,000.

Evidence Mr Newell gave, backed up by developer Hilton Grugeon, contradicted evidence given by Andrew Cornwell's wife, Samantha Brookes, earlier this month.

However Mrs Brookes stood by her earlier evidence, stating the painting was a gift and she handed it on because she didn't like it.

She said her husband was just confused earlier, giving the wrong description of the painting.

Mrs Brookes also accused Mr Grugeon of lying in his evidence.

Also back in the stand was Mr Cornwell, who accused Mr Grugeon of lying to deflect blame.

■ This week Swansea state MP Garry Edwards and Port Stephens MP Craig Baumann are expected to take the ICAC stand, along with Nathan Tinkler and former disgraced state MP Joe Tripodi.