Hundreds of jobs will be created when work starts on the outer harbour at Port Kembla, Ports Minister Duncan Gay has promised.
The minister yesterday announced the tender process had begun for the next phase in the $700 million outer-harbour expansion.
The NSW government has invited four experienced civil maritime design consultants to submit tenders for the design of the first new berth, dredging, and further reclamation in the outer harbour.
"The NSW government is getting on with delivering this project that will support the region's economy and create local jobs, with about 500 jobs to be created during the construction of this phase alone," Mr Gay said.
A government spokesperson said the construction was expected to start in the second half of 2013 and added the development will provide great benefits to the region.
"Port Kembla will play an important role in rebuilding a strong Illawarra economy," the spokesperson said.
"This redevelopment will diversify the port, promoting growth and providing jobs in the Illawarra region.
"Each ship visit to the port creates four full-time jobs and around $1 million in economic activity for NSW.
"During construction it will create around 500 direct or indirect jobs and once operational it will create around 200-250 full-time direct or indirect jobs."
With the government looking at leasing Port Kembla to a private consortium, the spokesperson said the development would be appealing to prospective landlords, adding that proceeds from the port would be "invested in Restart NSW, with 30 per cent of funds reserved for projects in regional areas, with $100million earmarked for infrastructure projects in the Illawarra."
The winning tender will also be required to design the construction of additional reclamation areas.
The tender process is expected to close in mid-October and detailed design works are expected to start by December this year.