THE BIG DAY: Then Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett announces he will stop the Traveston dam project at a press conference in Brisbane in November, 2009.
THE BIG DAY: Then Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett announces he will stop the Traveston dam project at a press conference in Brisbane in November, 2009. APN Australian Regional Media

Last properties from Traveston Crossing turmoil sold

THE last of the 464 properties bought by the Beattie government for the failed Traveston Crossing dam are under contract, bringing to an end almost a decade of social and economic turmoil in the Mary Valley.

The sell-down has recouped about half of the $500 million the government spent buying up 14,000ha of land for the dam, leaving Queensland with a $250 million shortfall.

Property group Oliver Hume sold 320 of the Mary Valley dam properties, ranging in price from $17,000 to $6.5 million.

Property news website theurbandeveloper.com reported this week Oliver Hume had this month released the last tranche of properties.

Eleven of those 12 properties "which included dairy and grazing properties, homes and rural land" went at the end of a seven-day tender campaign for prices ranging from $355,000 to $1.1 million.

Oliver Hume managing director Brinton Keath told a Landline article on the Valley's nine-year journey at the weekend the land was sold for much less than it was purchased because of the global financial crisis, but had now recouped much of its value.

Six years after the dam was canned by then Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett, the group that has been charged with rebuilding the Valley's economy says the return of all that property to private ownership will allow the region to move on.

The Newman government had expected the process to take six years but the (now disbanded) Mary Valley Economic Coordinating Committee member and Gympie councillor Ian Petersen said it was a good thing the process was over quickly.

"There was a terrible mess left by the original Labor government with the failed Traveston Crossing dam and there was a great vacuum up there where a lot of families left and the valley became very unproductive," Cr Petersen told the ABC this week.

"It's really good to see it getting back into private hands and potential to start contributing to the regional economy again."

Though the Bollier Park quarter horse development appears to have stalled, MVECC chair and former Gympie MP David Gibson said that and the $500 million Hope Dairies proposal showed the Valley was a place attracting interest.

The LNP's new Gympie MP, Tony Perrett, said despite the Government losing $250 million on the sales, he was happy with how quickly the properties had been sold.

"It was important that there was ownership of those properties, particularly by the private sector, and I think by the good work by the former government to get those properties back into private ownership will help the region see a bright future," he said.

The proposed $2 billion Traveston Crossing dam was initially proposed in 2006 by the State Government, would have been located about 27km upstream of Gympie, wiped our Kandanga and divided the Valley.

The project was cancelled in November 2009, after being refused approval by Mr Garrett.

For many residents it was too late - they had sold up and left.

Gympie Times


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