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Early end for corporation

Peter Veneris says 80 residential lots remain.EDITORIAL: Corporation reaches end
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– Final dividend worth $6m

THE Albury-Wodonga Corporation will be no more by the end of the year.

It is expected to shut for good on December 31, bringing an end to a grand experiment started under Gough Whitlam’s Labor government in 1973.

The Border Mail learnt of the corporation’s early demise just after a memorial service was held in Sydney this week for the former prime minister.

Initially the corporation — one of 70 federal government agencies to be axed or merged by the federal government — was to have shut its doors in mid-next year under legislation passed by the Federal Parliament last month.

But part of the legislation also allows federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann to act earlier.

“The Minister for Finance can nominate the date for the proclamation (made by the Governor-General) and is working towards a December 31, 2014, cessation of the Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation,” Mr Cormann’s spokeswoman said.

Mr Whitlam, then NSW premier Bob Askin and his Victorian counterpart Dick (later Sir Rupert) Hamer signed the growth centre deal in Wodonga in 1973.

The aim was a population of 300,000 by the year 2000, but the target was later halved and officially scrapped in 1990.

The corporation bought 24,079 hectares and invested $139million.

Its impact on the Border was drastically cut when planning powers were returned to local councils in the 1990s.

It once employed more than 100 people but has since shrunk to just five.

The passing of the Albury Wodonga Development (Abolition) Bill 2014 in effect repeals the Albury Wodonga Development Act 1973.

Corporation chief executive Peter Veneris said the corporation’s landholdings at the end of last month totalled 986 hectares.

That compares with the about 6400 hectares of land it had in 2004, which was when the corporation was directed to cease land development activity and focus on land disposal.

Interim chairman Andrew Watson said there would be no fire sale of the corporation’s assets as part of the wind-up.

“During the next two months corporation staff will be working to finalise sales processes that have already been initiated and communicate with suppliers to ensure an orderly wind-up,” he said.

Mr Veneris said the corporation was continuing to work closely with the Department of Finance towards an orderly wind-up and transition of responsibilities to the department.

“The corporation will be writing to those parties with whom it has current dealings to provide details of the transition process,” he said.

Mr Veneris said about 80 developed residential and industrial lots remained from the corporation’s previous development activities.

“The corporation developed over 6000 residential lots in Albury and Wodonga over a period of 30-plus years,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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