The Supreme Court has finally passed judgment to affirm that the long delayed Giralang shops can be a restored to a functional community asset even at the expense of nearby rent-seekers.
Owners of nearby potential rival shops have been mercifully put in their place:
In the absence of persuasive evidence that the proposed development will put in jeopardy facilities already enjoyed by the community, the plaintiffs’ interests are simply that the increased competition provided by the development will have an effect on their profitability, based on how they currently run their business. In my opinion this is too remote to make the second and third plaintiffs persons aggrieved by the Ministers decision for the purposes of the ACT ADJR Act. As the first plaintiff is one step further removed in terms of the effect that the Ministers decision may have upon it, it follows that it too does not have standing to challenge the decision.
As for the “COMBINED RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION INC”, they get short shrift from Justice Burns:
The fourth plaintiff cannot be said to be a representative community body. As at the date it made representations concerning the proposed development, 18 May 2011, it had five members. It was only incorporated on 17 May 2011, the day before it forwarded its representations. It continued to have five members until 23 February 2012, when two of the original members resigned and 57 new members joined. There is no evidence that the fourth plaintiff has conducted meetings or consulted with the community. In their written submissions the plaintiffs say that the fourth plaintiff was formed to represent the first, second and third plaintiffs “and others” with respect to “the question of economic impact on local centres”. The fourth plaintiff has not demonstrated that it has any interest such as to grant it standing to challenge the Minister’s decision.
And to finish:
As the plaintiffs lack standing the application for review of the Minister’s decision must be refused.
UPDATE 06/07/12 12:56: Simon Corbell is celebrating his win:
“This decision is a win for the local residents of Giralang, and means that development can begin on a shopping complex that meets the needs of the local community,” Mr Corbell said.
“Giralang residents deserve to have shops close to their homes, to allow them to do the groceries without a long drive to neighbouring suburbs and to enjoy smaller retail shops and cafes in their local surrounds.”
The judgement of the ACT Supreme Court found the plaintiff’s arguments around commercial competition were not reasonable grounds to challenge the planning decision, and therefore found they had no standing to challenge my approval of the development.
The Court also rejected the grounds of objection put forward by the plaintiffs if standing had been granted.
“The Courts decision confirms the lawfulness of my decision to call-in the development and put to an end the long running issues with redevelopment of the site, allowing Giralang residents the same level of amenity enjoyed by many other Canberrans,” Mr Corbell said.
[Photo of Simon Corbell and Labor Candidate Yvette Berry provided by Simon Corbell’s office]