Bligh to visit Mary Valley
PREMIER Anna Bligh said she will visit the Mary Valley as soon as there are “concrete options for the area’s future”.
The commitment comes as one major “concrete” option, a new high level Mary River bridge at Traveston Crossing, begins its journey through the Commonwealth environmental approval process.
The bridge proposal has just gone to Canberra for assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Drilling began last month to test for foundations at the site, very near where the wall of the now-defunct Traveston Crossing dam was to be built.
Gympie Regional Council Works and Services Committee chairman Larry Friske said the bridge and its associated road and interchange facilities would greatly enhance heavy transport access to the Valley and improve safety at the Bruce Highway end.
Ms Bligh said one important planning problem for the area was the large proportion of its land now owned by the government, after it was purchased for the dam project.
The Premier told ABC radio she was not surprised that most people who sold their land to the government’s dam proponent, Queensland Water Infrastructure Pty Ltd, were not interested in buying it back.
Of 494 properties purchased for the project, only 97 former owners have indicated an interest in negotiating to re-purchase their former holdings.
Many had bought elsewhere and had started new lives, while others were renting the land back from the government on terms they found very favourable.
“It’s a very good deal in terms of the rental costs,” she said.
Her Infrastructure Minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, recently announced funding for Gympie Region planning, including for the Mary Valley.
“I’ve always indicated that I’ll visit the area when we’ve got some certainty of some of the options,” Ms Bligh said, “so we can sit down and constructively talk to the community about what the options are for the long-term future of the area”.
Mr Hinchliffe said recently that all leases would be honoured.