Corp wins six more years

THE Albury-Wodonga Corporation’s wind-up date has been deferred to 2021, with the global financial crisis and sluggish economic conditions being held partly to blame.

Corporation chairman Bill Hanrahan has confirmed the wind-up will be pushed out from the original target of 2015 to avoid the risk of a fire sale of existing land.

The decision was recently ticked off by federal Finance Minister Penny Wong after talks with local, state and federal government parties.

In 2005 the Howard government directed the corporation to cease land development activity and focus on an accelerated land disposal program of varying sized parcels to the private sector and prepare the organisation for winding up.

But Mr Hanrahan said market conditions would prevent the land disposal program meeting its original target date.

“Significant progress has been made in reducing the size of the land bank from 6387 hectares in 2005 to the current total of 1324 hectares,” Mr Hanrahan said.

“However, it has become clear that not all of the land bank will be disposed of by 2015.

“The global financial crisis and the subdued economic conditions that followed, as well as the amount of land already in the hands of private developers, have impacted on the corporation’s land disposal program.”

Mr Hanrahan said almost 200 hectares of the land left was zoned industrial.

Disposing of it all by 2015 would present major challenges in the economic climate and given competition from Albury Council’s Nexus industrial estate at Ettamogah and Logic at Barnawartha North.

The corporation industrial land consists of parcels from several hectares to more than 40 hectares.

“Selling industrial land presents a challenge because historically purchasers have been less inclined to speculate on it,” Mr Hanrahan said.

The corporation was established 40 years ago and assembled a land bank of 24,097 hectares.

After steady sales, it shrunk a further 5000 hectares since 2005, about half due to the sales to private buyers.

The balance is attributable to transfers to state and local governments for environmental and community purposes, with the corporation paying out $11 million to fund its future management.

Bill Hanrahan.

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