Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Government admits error in selling waterfront property for $38,000

Residents on the New South Wales Central Coast are questioning why a government block of land sold for just $38,000 when a neighbouring lot fetched $2.4 million.

In 2015, 1100 square metres of prime waterfront land at the Woy Woy Bowling Club sold for the bargain price of $38,380.

Residents began questioning the deal earlier this year after a development application was lodged for a four-storey seniors apartment block.

They discovered the block had once been crown land.

In the agreement between the developer and the Crown Lands Department, the estimated value of a similar block of land next door was just $121,000.

“I don’t quite understand how this has happened,” says Ray Hadley.

“It gets cloudier and murkier by the second.”

Locals attempted to obtain the true valuation of the lot, but were denied.

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge has referred the deal to the Independent Commision Against Corruption (ICAC) for investigation.

He tells Ray he’s obtained documents showing the adjacent land sold in 2004 for $2.4 million.

“The details are a little bit confusing…” admits Mr Shoebridge.

Click PLAY below to hear the full story

In a statement to the Ray Hadley Morning Show, the government claims it was sold at market value but admits it made an error in advertising.

Internal records indicate that in August 2013, the department advertised the intention to sell Crown land under section 34 of the Crown Lands Act 1989 in the locality of the Crown land in question.

Although the necessary advertisement had previously been undertaken the Department sought to take a conservative approach, given several years had lapsed, to re-advertise the sale in 2015.

Unfortunately an error was made during this process, with the advertisement appearing in a media outlet outside the local area. This was an inadvertent mistake by a staff member, with no intention to deceive the local community.

See the full statement below

The Woy Woy Bowling Club applied to The Department of Industry – Crown Lands to purchase a small piece of land that was leased as part of a bowling green. The sale was made through direct negotiation.
A review into the sale and valuation took place in response to requests from the community for information around direct negotiation process.
The review found records confirming that the land valuation was determined by an independent valuer, who assessed value based on the small size and irregular shape of the land, its current use as part of a bowling green, its current land use zoning, and its location in a flood prone area.
The independent registered valuer put the total market value of the land between $17,600 and $35,300 + GST. The Department of Industry – Lands and Water sold the land for $38,830 (GST inclusive) which is at the upper end of the land valuation range.The review also considered comparable sales undertaken by DoI – Crown Lands around this time and found the Woy Woy outcome was consistent with other sales.
Nearby large residential and commercial property sale prices are not comparable to the sale of a small irregular-shaped strip of flood prone land that that has a different land use zoning.
Internal records indicate that in August 2013, the department advertised the intention to sell Crown land under section 34 of the Crown Lands Act 1989 in the locality of the Crown land in question.
Although the necessary advertisement had previously been undertaken the Department sought to take a conservative approach, given several years had lapsed, to re-advertise the sale in 2015. Unfortunately an error was made during this process, with the advertisement appearing in a media outlet outside the local area. This was an inadvertent mistake by a staff member, with no intention to deceive the local community.
The Department has changed processes to reduce likelihood of such a mistake.
Since 2015, guidance and documentation has improved with the commencement of the Crown Land Management Act 2016. All staff involved in the sale of Crown land have received training and a Community Engagement Strategy has come into effect.
DoI – Crown Lands is engaging an independent service provider to undertake a detailed review of a third of Crown land sales completed over the past 12 months.  The purpose of this review is to provide extra assurance that no other errors have occurred.

Advertisement