LIBERAL Democrat member Tim Quilty has raised concerns in Parliament about a deal involving rezoned land and a past Wodonga council director.
The former Wodonga councillor told the Legislative Council on Tuesday of circumstances surrounding the sale of Kiewa Valley Highway land backing onto Baranduda Fields.
Mr Quilty said the former Albury Wodonga Development Corporation land had been subject to a 173 agreement that meant it could only be used for community or educational purposes.
"In 2014 the Department of Finance entered into a contract to sell the land for $247,500 to a company controlled by a former senior Wodonga Council staffer Michael Gobel," Mr Quilty told the chamber.
"A price reflecting the value of the land with the 173 agreement, but the contract conditional on the agreement being removed.
"With removal, the land value jumped, the purchasers immediately making windfall gains of up to $800,000 to $1 million."
Mr Quilty, who was a Wodonga councillor in March 2018, when the revoking of the Section 173 occurred, said he was mislead then.
"When this matter was discussed in briefings, the CEO and a senior staffer removed themselves because of conflict of interest, although the mayor did not," he said.
"As usual, councillors were provided with misleading and inaccurate information.
"Details, like the identity of the purchaser, were withheld.
"As was often the case with Wodonga Council, something stank.
"I raise this matter in Parliament so it can be reported on freely.
"I suspect this is not the only case of dubious dealings by connected insiders around land zoned for other purposes coming out of the wind up of the development corporation."
Mr Gobel was surprised by Mr Quilty's comments, saying he had not spoken to the MP about the purchase and the circumstances surrounding it.
"I would certainly welcome the opportunity to do so as there appears to be some misconceptions in Mr Quilty's comments," Mr Gobel said.
"I would like to state that the land was purchased in a public EOI process and the vendor sold the land with express communication in the marketing material regarding council's consent to remove the s.173."
A council spokeswoman defended the handling of the matter.
"The sale of the land was a contractual matter between the Department of Finance and the purchaser with the ownership of the land not relevant to the matter being determined, being a planning issue," she said.
"The council inquired of the department whether the purchaser's information could be disclosed and was advised that under the Privacy Act, they were not permitted to divulge that information."