from Canberra Times 29 November 2012
A Supreme Court judge has thrown out a challenge to the government’s contentious proposal to curtail rights of appeal in the Kingston Foreshore precinct.
Last year, Planning Minister Simon Corbell moved to ban third-party planning appeals to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal for developments in the upmarket strip.
It was touted as a bid to speed up progress on the site and avoid protracted legal battles dragging out projects.
But developer Mainore, who owns 36 residential and commercial units in the precinct and previously defeated rival projects in the tribunal, challenged the ban.
Mainore took its case to the ACT Supreme Court, seeking a judicial review of the decision.
But Chief Justice Terence Higgins on Thursday dismissed their case, agreeing with lawyers for the territory that the developer ”lacked standing”.
The judge said Mainore wasn’t currently objecting to any proposed developments in the area and, as such, had no right to a judicial review of the ban.
”In the present case, there is no proposed development in the Kingston Foreshore area to which the plaintiff has any objection,” Chief Justice Higgins said.
”Such a proposal might, conceivably, arise in the future and it would then be a question as to whether merits review is validly excluded.”
The ban on third-party appeals has been a hot-button issue, with former Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur in February pushing for the arts precinct to be excluded from the restriction. The resulting political stoush split the foreshore into two planning jurisdictions.
The arts precinct retained the right of appeal to ACAT but the rest of the locale will have to proceed straight to the Supreme Court.