Albury-Wodonga Corporation has 13 months left to sell up

Peter Veneris is preparing for ongoing talks on the corporation’s final months. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

Peter Veneris is preparing for ongoing talks on the corporation’s final months. Picture: KYLIE ESLER

ALBURY-Wodonga Corporation chief executive Peter Veneris hopes to meet Finance Department officials soon to discuss its imminent wind-up.

Shutdown date is now June 30, 2015, instead of 2021, a date set last year, he said.

Mr Veneris said it would continue to market land “in accordance with its normal operating principles”.

“That is, an open market process and not selling land below market value as determined by the Valuer General as we prepare to wind-up,” he said.

It was revealed by The Border Mail on Monday that the corporation was one of 70 federal government agencies to be axed or merged.

Treasurer Joe Hockey’s first budget on Tuesday confirmed this.

“The actual decision to wind-up the corporation was made a number of years ago,” Mr Veneris said.

“The only thing that has been subject to change in more recent times is the timeframe and the wind-up date itself.”

Mr Veneris said the department would assume “managing the responsibility” for the remaining land bank from July, 2015.

“Obviously what we’ll be doing in the coming weeks and months is having discussions with the department,” he said.

“Generally we’ve been in regular contact with the department, but from here on in those discussions will have a different context.

“I imagine they’ll be ongoing for the next 12 months.”

It is not yet known whether the department will set up an office on the Border to manage sales once the corporation is gone.

The corporation has an undeveloped land bank of 1140 hectares — mostly rural land — plus a developed portfolio of 62 vacant home sites and 34 industrial lots at Thurgoona and Baranduda.

“Most of those industrial lots are subject to the joint venture developments we had with the local councils,” Mr Veneris said.

Then prime minister Gough Whitlam, NSW premier Bob Askin and his Victorian counterpart Dick (later Sir Rupert) Hamer signed the growth centre deal in Wodonga in 1973 and eventually the corporation bought 24,079 hectares and invested $139 million.

The remaining land is believed to be valued at about $50 million and the corporation staff numbers five.