Craig Warhurst

Land 'bargain' fears

GYMPIE real estate agents are warning the State Government against turning the Mary Valley into a bargain basement for property speculators.

The government last week began the huge task of selling a large proportion of the Mary Valley back to private owners.

It was the first step towards repairing the massive economic and social damage caused to the region by the failed Traveston Crossing dam proposal.

PRDNationwide agent Allen Kingston said the real teaser of new government sell-off was one-acre block for $25,000.

It was one of six large parcels of land put out to tender for 30 days at the weekend.

Mr Kingston said buyers had included two from Fraser Island and one from Papua New Guinea.

"We've got a couple of firm offers and a contract drawn up," he said.

"It seems to be perceived that there may be other bargains coming up.

"It's generated interest in the whole area, which I suppose is something the government wanted to do."

Mr Kingston said there was danger of a temporary effect on the general market as people selling acreage find the only buyers are bargain hunters.

The Professionals Gympie rural sales specialist Lex Townsend had similar concerns.

"From everything we're reading, the government wants to sell off the majority of its land over an 18-month period," he said.

"They have to be more responsible than that, because they've got another 464 properties to sell, even without taking into account other landowners in the area who want to sell.

"The property we sold was a 400-acre block on three titles.

"We had 45 inquiries, 22 inspections and eight tenders and we sold it within the valuer's recommended price range.

"Properties with leases that are still current perhaps could be kept as is for a while."

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said he thought the Garapine outdoor recreation resort overlooking the Valley would attract good interest.

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