It seems that Tony Windsor has a good head for business. In February last year his family company Cintra Investments sold 376 hectares of land near Tamworth for $4.625 million, nearly three times more than other farms nearby. Werris Creek Coal bought the land which works out at about $12,300 a hectare. There is bad blood between Windsor and the National Party so it was no surprise when they accused him of being a hypocrite pointing out that he had campaigned with farmers from the lush Liverpool Plains against mining, worried that their groundwater would become contaminated. But Windsor insists his property Cintra is not located on the Liverpool Plains and there is no groundwater to contaminate.
According to land titles searches, there were three other large farms in the area that were also sold to the mining company, but for much less than Mr Windsor’s property. A 351 ha nearby property was sold to the coal group for $1.8m in 2008 –working out at $5128 a hectare -- and another 317 ha parcel changed hands for $2767 a hectare in April this year.
So why is Windsor’s property worth $12,300 a hectare? When asked about the differences in sale prices between his property and those of his neighbours he got angry and said "You listen to me pal, you mind your own business, it's my family's business. If you want to make up some bullshit story, go for your life, I don't care." To be fair, variation in the price of land parcels would depend on the volume and quality of underground deposits and the fact that his home is 800 metres from the coal face, would also make the land more desirable.
Hatred towards the three Independents in this hung parliament is getting worse. Windsor was quick to share with the media the death threat left on his phone by a man concerned about the proposed carbon tax. So is someone trying to make him look bad or is he doing it all by himself?
He recently spent nearly $6 million to buy three NSW farms in an area near Coonamble earmarked for coal-seam gas exploration. He said he has purchased the properties for his family to farm and for no other reason. Petroleum giant Santos and Eastern Star Gas hold an exploration licence covering thousands of hectares around Coonamble but Mr Windsor said he “wouldn’t have a clue” if his properties were likely to be affected. “There may be a licence over them – I don’t know” he said “They have licences over a vast slice of country and it doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be or couldn’t be licences in the future, but that’s not what’s driving me.”
So at the end of the day it comes down to what he's done for the people he represents. The Gillard government has decided to give Albury $65 million in funding for its long-awaited cancer clinic. Not bad for an Independent nobody from the bush.