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Govt backs down on compulsory acquisition of leases: Bourke council

The Bourke Shire Council says the New South Wales Government has backed down on plans for compulsory acquisition of western lands leases.

The Government had indicated it planned to reclaim parts of properties at Silverton, near Broken Hill, where wind turbines are proposed.

The Bourke council was concerned about the potential loss of security for leaseholders and the threat it could pose to a wind farm planned for the shire.

However, council general manager Geoff Wise says the Department of Lands has now agreed to negotiate with the leaseholders to allow a “change of lease purpose”.

“It appears that the Minister has worked out a way forward with the leaseholders that seems to be very mutually acceptable,” he said.

But a spokesman for Lands Minister Tony Kelly says the Government is still working towards a solution which requires Cabinet approval.

Mr Wise says if the negotiations are successful it will be a great relief for leaseholders.

“Because of their anxiety about the equity and the security of their leases, they were the two greatest concerns for leaseholders,” he said.

“What the equity value or investment they have in their leases and what sort of security they’ve got, that’s a very fundamental right across the western division.”

ABC Central West NSW

1 May 2008