Former NSW treasurer Eric Roozendaal arrives at the ICAC hearing on Tuesday. Photo: Daniel Munoz
Former NSW treasurer Eric Roozendaal has admitted to a corruption inquiry that he knew his Labor colleague Joe Tripodi was feeding confidential information from his office to a company linked to Nathan Tinkler and did nothing to stop it.
"I didn't see a problem with it," said Mr Roozendaal, who agreed he was "content" for Treasury information to be given by Mr Tripodi to Buildev, a development company part-owned by the coal mogul which stood to make "tens of millions of dollars" if a Newcastle coal loader was approved.
Mr Roozendaal, who appeared for a second day at the Independent Commission Against Corruption, also admitted that in November 2010, within days of Mr Tripodi being flown in Mr Tinkler's helicopter to a briefing with Buildev executives in Newcastle, Mr Roozendaal took action to stymie a rival project to the coal loader going ahead.
In the lead-up to the 2011 election, Buildev was pushing for a coal terminal in the residential suburb of Mayfield. But Mr Roozendaal's own department, his staff and his ministerial colleague Jodi McKay, the MP for Newcastle, supported a container terminal for the site.
Mr Roozendaal also admitted that he had seen the highly confidential Treasury document which was leaked to the Newcastle Herald to undermine Ms McKay's support for the rival project. The evidence suggests that the document was leaked to Mr Tripodi, who passed it on to Buildev executive Darren Williams.
But the former treasurer denied leaking the Treasury document to Mr Tripodi, who in turn claimed he had no recollection of either receiving the document or passing it on to a Buildev executive.
In other evidence, Mr Roozendaal claimed that Ms McKay was "very agitated and upset" and "screamed" at him in a phone call on February 16, 2011, the same day the document was leaked to the Newcastle Herald.
Mr Roozendaal described the conversation as "highly emotive" and that he was concerned for Ms McKay's wellbeing. He was also worried her allegations regarding Mr Roozendaal being involved in a "conspiracy" might end up in the media with a headline such as "MP Accuses Treasurer of Impropriety" .
He also agreed that he urged Ms McKay to be careful of making such allegations over the phone.
The former treasurer, who now works for a property developer, denied this was because he was worried his phone was being intercepted. Instead, he told the hearing that MPs "should be discreet on the phones", especially during an election campaign.
Ms McKay has told the hearing that she had previously declined Mr Tinkler's offer to fund her campaign because of the ban on developer donations.
"His immediate reply was, 'I have hundreds of employees and I can get around the rules that way," " Ms McKay said, a claim which Mr Tinkler has denied
In her heated conversation with Mr Roozendaal, Ms McKay recalled : "He went silent and in a low voice he said, 'Haven't you spoken to Tinkler?' "
Mr Roozendaal said this because he hoped Mr Tinkler could explain the merits of his proposal to Ms McKay.