State accuses council of ‘running dead’ in court case
THE State Government has taken aim at a local council accusing it of "giving up" in a court appeal which was successfully brought by a quarry this morning.
But the Council has hit back at the Planning Minister for electing not to join the appeal when asked.
Barro Quarry at Mount Cotton today won its challenge against Redland City Council, which refused it extra time to build a second quarry at its Mt Cotton Rd site.
Planning and Environment Court Judge Richard Jones today ruled Barro had an extra three years to continue with its plans for a second Mt Cotton quarry.
Justice Jones said his decision came after experts for both the council and the quarry struck a precourt agreement to allow the time extension until 2022.
The decision, which also included new conditions imposed on Barro Group, came after a strong community campaign against the second quarry following council's refusal in March last year and a previous 2013 council refusal.
Council's 2013 refusal was overturned when the then State Minister for Planning Jeff Seeney called in and approved the project in December that year.
Redland council said it was disappointed with the decision and denied the state government's allegations.
Mayor Karen Williams said it followed six years of council defending the community by refusing the Barro proposal.
"Council has shared the community's concerns with respect to this proposal and we have fought hard to represent the community," Cr Williams said.
"This has included our refusal of the original application in 2013, which was overturned by the State Government of the day.
"We also refused the application to extend the State's approval to allow Barro longer to build the quarry after the State's 2013 approval expired.
"We recently supported the community in calling for the Planning Minister to join the court appeal against the project, but unfortunately the Minister elected not to do so," Cr Williams said.
Today's decision also followed an abrupt overnight about-turn by the State Government and Springwood MP Mick de Brenni, who accused Redland council of not fighting the case.
Mr de Brenni had promised residents this week he would back their campaign and join with the council against the quarry's appeal.
But early on Thursday morning, State lawyers arrived at court to be told that the case had already been settled.
Mr de Brenni told Albert and Logan News there was no longer an appeal process to join as Redland council had "given up" with its lawyers making their new stance known at the precourt meeting.
"Instead of continuing the appeal process with the assistance of the State, Redland council instructed its lawyers to abandon their Barro appeal this morning," Mr de Brenni told Albert & Logan News.
"In my view, council's heart has never been in it. It's always wanted this project to proceed unhindered.
"They were mediating and negotiating when they should have been fighting.
"At the eleventh hour, they asked the state to join their appeal.
"Regardless, lawyers representing the Crown were instructed to join, and sent down to the hearing today.
"Sadly, before the hearing even commenced, lawyers for Redland council advised the State that they were instructed that council had decided to give up.
"As a result, there's no appeal process to join.
"This means that the responsibilities for addressing traffic and conservation issues now rests with taxpayers, rather than the company."
The State allegations were vehemently denied by Redland councillor for Mt Cotton Julie Talty, who said the council was unable to continue with its defence without the State Government on side.
"The allegations that the council rolled over and only asked the state to join the appeal case at the 11th hour are scurrilous," Cr Talty said.
"We have tried to get the state involved since 2013 and sent a long list of issues we wanted the State to intervene on."If the State had joined the council and asked for an adjournment, the whole matter would have been reassessed. "We did not have a case to further defend without the State. "We had no desire to settle when council lawyers went to court this morning.
Mt Cotton resident Anthony Moloney, whose property backs on to the quarry, said the main loser in the case was the community.
Mr Moloney petitioned Redland City Council last week urging the council to push the state to join the legal battle against the quarry.
"We've been thrown under a truck and dumped on," he said.
"I filed an affidavit with the court but for some reason it was never tended correctly, effectively barring me from addressing the court."