Mary Valley land values halved

MARY Valley land resumed for the aborted Traveston Crossing Dam has halved in value, a leaked document tabled in Parliament yesterday revealed.

The leaked Cabinet Budget Review Committee document was tabled by Gympie MP David Gibson, showing Mary Valley landholdings were worth $225 million at the end of June, about half the $449.5 million purchase price.

This brought the total losses incurred by the Traveston Crossing Dam debacle close to half a billion dollars, Mr Gibson said.

He said the news was another blow to the Valley, already struggling with high unemployment and mortgage stress.

The massive drop in values would also impact on property owners who escaped the original land resumptions, he said.

Mr Gibson called on Premier Anna Bligh to now fulfil her promise to visit the Valley and explain the impact of her decisions.

The document indicates the State Government has no plans to spend more money on its Integrated Management and Sales Strategy for the Valley this year or next.

"Labor is walking away from rebuilding this community," Mr Gibson said.

"To restore (land) values to an area you have to make it a desirable place to live and farm and invest in again.

"This government has no plan to do that."

The new figure takes in a $220.6 million decrease in the assessed property value, along with a $1.5m cost of undergoing property sales and $2.4m in depreciation.

The State Government owns nearly 500 Mary Valley properties, many of which are currently rented out.

Asked about the revised valuation during question time yesterday, the Premier said the current estimate was not relevant to the long-term value of the land.

Ms Bligh said the government was committed to progressively selling the properties over time to avoid flooding the market, and the amount ultimately acquired would "potentially exceed" the original purchase price.

The controversial Traveston Crossing Dam project was abandoned in 2009 when the then Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett rejected the proposal under national environment laws.

Gympie Times

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