NSW Treasurer Mike Baird says the government has had strong interest both nationally and internationally from companies keen to take over the running of the Port of Newcastle.
The scoping study for the 99-year lease is expected to be finished by the end of the year and the government hopes to finalise the transaction before next year's budget.
The government has today announced a community liaison group will be set up by Newcastle Port Corporation to allow regular feedback on port operations.
Mr Baird says the government has been contacted by a number of companies about the lease.
"Initial sort of engagement across the market says there is lot of interest and people that weren't necessarily bidding in the other processes, because this is a smaller transaction it does attract a wider field," he said.
"So we're certainly very positive about the interest both domestic and international.
"I think the city will be pleasantly surprised in terms of the quality of the field and the players that come to market."
But the Treasurer cannot guarantee more money will head the Hunter's way if the privatisation of Newcastle port yields more than expected.
The State Government is expecting about $700-million for the lease, with about half of the funds going towards the revitalisation of Newcastle.
When visiting the city today Mr Baird would not commit more funding for the Hunter if the privatisation deal attracts more money.
"As you can probably expect there's a lot of demand across every community in the state," he said.
Newcastle MP Tim Owen says the government is already spending a lot in the city.
"We're putting a lot of money into the legal courthouse, there's a lot of money going into the university, Urban Growth NSW is putting a huge amount of money into the mall," he said.