THE last thing the Mary Valley needed was a monoculture that limited job opportunities and weakened the region's rate base, Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne said yesterday.
Cr Dyne was responding to calls from Timber Queensland for the State Government to lease hundreds of Traveston Crossing dam properties to the timber industry.
He said thanks to the sale of the Queensland government's plantation timber business in 2010, about 43% of land in the Gympie region was still crown land. But under the terms of the sale, it was not subject to council rates.
Maintaining the roads through that forestry land was an ongoing issue and cost for the council.
The State Government was trying to sell some of the properties acquired for the failed dam and Timber Queensland wanted it to lease the properties to plantation growers, under a similar 99-year plantation licence agreement.
Cr Dyne said a monoculture strategy such as this was not a good idea.
"We need to broaden the base in the Mary Valley, so that we get better employment levels," he said.
The government was looking at other options for the Valley, including ginger plantations, nut plantations and the chicken meat industry, he said.
"I find it amazing that (Timber Queensland) thinks it can compete against a company like Hancocks, when (Hancocks) pays no rates."
Cr Dyne said he would expect any future leases to be subject to rates.
Gympie already had one of (if not the) biggest proportions of unrateable land in the state, Cr Dyne said.
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