Joe Tripodi gave 'improper' help to Tinkler project

Under the ICAC spotlight: Joe Tripodi, left, and Eric Roozendaal.
Under the ICAC spotlight: Joe Tripodi, left, and Eric Roozendaal.

Former Labor MPs Eric Roozendaal and Joe Tripodi took steps, ''quite improperly'', to deliver a coal loader that would have resulted in a profit worth hundreds of millions of dollars to mining magnate Nathan Tinkler, a corruption inquiry has heard.

Also embroiled in the scandal is Ian McNamara, a former Tripodi aide and now chief of staff to Opposition Leader John Robertson.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is examining why then treasurer Mr Roozendaal and his factional ally Mr Tripodi went out of their way to support Mr Tinkler's attempts to establish a fourth coal loader in Newcastle.

Mr Roozendaal ''did everything he could to advance Buildev's [Mr Tinkler's development company] proposal for a coal terminal,'' counsel assisting, Geoffrey Watson, SC, told the inquiry on Wednesday.

It also heard that Mr Tripodi gave Buildev confidential government information over a block of land Buildev was thinking of buying in Edmondson Park.

Mr Tripodi, who has previously been found corrupt by ICAC, was flown in Mr Tinkler's helicopter to meet Buildev executives in November 2010 to help with their proposal to get approval for a coal loader.

Newcastle MP Jodi McKay opposed Mr Tinkler's plans.

The corruption watchdog has obtained damning notes of Mr Tripodi's meeting, which were typed by an assistant to David Sharpe, a Buildev executive. The notes indicate Mr McNamara worked with Mr Tripodi to advance Buildev's interest. Mr Watson said Mr McNamara, a former Young Labor president and close ally of Mr Tripodi, was known as ''the Triprotege''.

Mr Sharpe's notes say ''Joe'' was ''going to get Eric to stop Anglo deal going to the Board''. This was a reference to Anglo Ports being chosen to operate a container terminal on government land that Buildev was hoping to use as a coal loader.

The inquiry heard Mr Roozendaal also met Buildev executives and ''Mr McNamara was also involved''. Labor sources said the opposition strategy in Wednesday's question time was not to raise the allegations against the government to protect Mr McNamara, who is being groomed to take over Mr Tripodi's old seat of Fairfield.

This story Joe Tripodi gave 'improper' help to Tinkler project first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.