Dept stands firm on secret Barangaroo deal

The head of Infrastructure NSW stands by the government's decision to hand Barangaroo developers Lendlease and Crown lucrative concessions in a secret settlement over the controversial harbour precinct.

Chief executive Simon Draper told a parliamentary inquiry into potential bias in negotiations for the Sydney waterfront project he had no intention of resigning over the 2019 deal or delays in construction at the neighbouring central Barangaroo site.

The inquiry on Friday heard the confidential deed between the government, Lendlease and Crown to settle disputes over delays and views from the harbour precinct gave them a "development bonus" including 8000sq m of extra floor space for one Lendlease tower and other favourable terms.

It followed a Supreme Court case the NSW government lost over the Barangaroo south project.

Mr Draper said the agreement was struck to shield taxpayers from a potential settlement worth hundreds of millions of dollars and it had the approval of then premier Gladys Berejiklian.

"Our objective was to avoid the taxpayer of NSW having to sign a big cheque to Lendlease or Crown, but rather to find things that were of value to them but didn't cost the state money," he said.

The inquiry heard allegations the government agency had effectively sold valuable "sight lines" over Sydney Harbour twice, to Barangaroo south developers Lendlease and Crown and Barangaroo central developer Grocon.

Grocon, which is suing the NSW government over the project, went into voluntary administration in 2019 after selling its Barangaroo rights to junior partner Aqualand.

The Barangaroo central development remains stalled after a series of disputes over building heights and their impact on views.

When asked by inquiry chair Mark Latham if he was considering his resignation over the "disgraceful" state of the delayed central precinct, Mr Draper replied: "Obviously not, because we're quite proud of what we've done."

The Infrastructure NSW boss denied any bias in its dealings with the various developers or that the agency had sold sight lines to multiple parties.

"We're very proud of the fact that we've defended the public of NSW from large financial claims," Mr Draper said.

The inquiry on Friday also heard former premier Mike Baird met with then Crown owner James Packer in 2015, three months before the government made an agreement that eventually paved the way to the 2019 settlement.

He denied giving Barangaroo sight lines away and said he wasn't involved in any discussions with Mr Packer or Crown about increasing the height of the casino operator's controversial tower at the waterfront site.

The inquiry's report is due by 20 December.