Mary Valley buy-back time extended

WITH much of the Mary Valley up for sale after the collapse of the Traveston Crossing dam proposal, the State Government has now extended its buy-back scheme deadline.

Infrastructure Minister Stirling Hinchliffe announced that former dam site landowners who sold their properties to the government will now have until June 30 to register their interest in repurchasing.

The previous deadline was May 31, next Monday.

At this point, it appears only a small minority of the former landowners have expressed any interest in buying it back.

The proposal itself and the three-and-a-half-year battle against it now seem to be only Chapter One of the Mary Valley drama, with residents now struggling to rebuild their community and economic infrastructure and everyone wondering what the government will do with the huge land asset it now owns in what was to be the dam footprint.

Mary Valley renewal team spokesperson Glenda Pickersgill said certainty and hope for the future were the most important strategic goals for the community.

“We’re looking forward to seeing outcomes from community meetings across the Mary Valley and we’ve organised that sort of information into a Community and Economic Action Plan, which we are intending to launch in early June,” she said.

But any such plans will be heavily impacted by government decisions.

Mr Hinchliffe said the government acknowledged that former landowners had suffered disruption.

Glenda Pickersgill yesterday expressed gratitude that the government had announced it would honour all registered leases and rental agreements affecting the land it bought for the dam proposal.

She said the deadline extension allowed more time for residents and the government to discuss issues surrounding the recovery process.

Mr Hinchliffe said the government acknowledged that people’s lives had been disrupted and that they had “lived with uncertainty for a number of years because of this project.

The government’s buy back scheme intends to provide former landowners with certainty of process and an opportunity for rapid settlement on the re-purchase of their land.

“To ensure that all former landowners have the maximum opportunity to buy back, we have extended the scheme for a further month.”

He said negotiations for the buy back will be conducted by officers from the Department of Infrastructure and Planning and “individuals who repurchase their former properties will have their legal costs met and stamp duty charges paid. This means former landowners will not be out of pocket on the sale of their land.”

Former landowners can ring the department on 3835 9985 or email for more information.

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