AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Last blow to Knowles as court accepts Ingleburn appeal

<p>Patrick Autocar has today (Wednesday, August 3) won an appeal in the New South Wales Land and Environment Court for the full operation of its planned car and container intermodal facility in Ingleburn. </p> <p>In 2003, then-infrastructure and planning minister Craig Knowles had given only partial consent to the car handling part of the facility, with Patrick launching an immediate appeal.</p> <p>The minister’s Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources argued in court that Patrick’s 2002 Ingleburn plan would "undermine" the Government’s long-term Ports Freight Plan that the department and the Freight Infrastructure Advisory Board were developing because it was too small and would not be able to operate on a 24&#477 basis.</p> <p>It also said that it would be "unreasonable" to expect the freight strategy to be finalised and released before a decision on Port Botany is made. </p> <p>However, in a final blow to the outgoing Mr Knowles, Justice D H Lloyd said that the freight policy is still too incomplete to be grounds to refuse consent to Patrick’s facilities.</p> <p> "I find, based on the evidence before the court, that the Government is in the process of developing a freight plan," he said. </p> <p>"There is, however, no finalised or clear policy, draft policy or otherwise identifiable Government policy on which the court can place determinative weight. </p> <p>"It is clear that the evidence in relation to the policy and the plan is too incomplete and uncertain to form a basis for the court to exercise its jurisdiction to refuse consent."</p> <p>Justice Lloyd said the plan was an important consideration, but that it would be "unreasonable" to refuse the development application solely on the basis that the Port Botany announcement is imminent or that the freight plan will be finalised in the second half of 2005. </p> <p>The project was more likely to promote the Government plan’s target of 40% of port container traffic on rail, than to frustrate or delay the plan, he said. </p> <p>Justice Lloyd noted that the department had earlier endorsed the "strategic appropriateness" of the site, and said it remains "highly suitable for the development of an intermodal cargo facility". </p> <p>Patrick Corp managing director Chris Corrigan said: "We are delighted that the court has brought to an end this farce. </p> <p>"Mr Knowles spent several years opposing the plan. </p> <p>"It is ironic that the court finds overwhelmingly in its favour on the day that Mr Knowles choses to leave politics. </p> <p>"If the proposal had been approved in a timely manner, Mr Knowles’s own electorate would have had hundreds of thousands of truck movements removed.</p> <p>"We are pleased that the court noted that our proposal supports [the&#93 Government’s logistics and environmental policy, despite the Government’s own attempts to block the project." </p> <br />