Land acquired for the defunct Cobbora Coal Mine, near Dunedoo, will now be sold for agricultural use.
The announcement of the land sale is tied to the sale of the Vales Point power station, which brings the State Government’s ownership of coal-fired electricity generation to an end.
Over 40,000 hectares of land was originally purchased for the coal project, with the loss of 90 families from the district, under the plan to supply coal to the Vale’s Point Power station. The project was shelved by the State Government in July 2013.
Following the discontinuation of the coal project, the Government created a $20 million Restart NSW Cobbora Transition Fund to assist communities impacted by the decision, with $8 million awarded to projects in the Warrumbungle shire.
Gladys Berejiklian, State Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations, announced the sale of Vales Point power station and the plan to sell Cobbora land holdings for agricultural use, last Thursday, 19 November.
Warrumbungle Shire Council mayor, Peter Shinton said the land to be sold included some reasonable grazing country along with that suited for lifestyle blocks.
“The initial buy-up of around 46,000 hectares included 114 houses, of which 59 were on agricultural properties and 55 on lifestyle blocks,” Cr Shinton said.
“The problem we are now seeing is that 41 houses have since been demolished, and according to new Local Environmental Plan (LEP) guidelines, a house can’t be rebuilt on land area under 600 hectares.”
Cr Shinton said Council had written to the State Treasurer and the Minister for Planning requesting some input into the land sale process.
“We are hoping to get a seat at the table to find a way to re-instate lifestyle blocks on which people can re-build,” Cr Shinton continued.
“While Council doesn’t own any of the land, we wanttoseethenumbersof people displaced from the Dunedoo area replaced.”
Cr Shinton said the town of Dunedoo had been devastated by the shelved coal project, with the loss of population having a flow-on effect on local businesses.
“We want people to come back and farm - not big farmers, but smaller, family farmers to generate income for the town of Dunedoo,” he said.
“Council will be meeting with our local member, Kevin Humphries on 4 December, when he will be in the district to open several Cobbora Transition Fund projects - so this will give us the opportunity to discuss the land re-sale face-to-face.”
It is hoped the sale of Cobbora Holding Company (CHC) land for agriculture use will attract people to the Dunedoo district.