Judge rules the Labor-Greens government ignored process

Chief Justice Helen Murrell has today delivered a stinging rebuke to the Labor-Greens government in a judgement on the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club’s lease.
The judge upheld 80 per cent of the Greyhound Club’s complaints on the lack of process surrounding the government’s delaying of a decision to renew the club’s lease in April last year.
Chief Justice Murrell states that:

* The Authority was under an implied statutory duty to decide the Clubs application;

* The Authority should have decided the application according to the law at the time and disregarding the possibility of legislative change;

* The Authority was required to decide the application ‘as soon as possible’ under section 151b of the Legislation Act 2001 (ACT), and it did not do so; and

* The Authorities deliberate delay in deciding the application amounted to a refusal to perform its statutory duty to make a decision.
Despite this, the judge made a discretionary decision not to overturn the original decision.
Quotes from Shadow Minister for Gaming and Racing Mark Parton:
“For the second time in less than 24 hours, a respected independent voice, this time a Supreme Court Judge, has ruled that this government has abandoned statutory process.
“Once again, the government is changing the rules to suit its own agenda.
“The judge very clearly rules that the Labor-Greens government and ACTPLA did the wrong thing again, but that they’re going to get away with it.
“Planning Minister Gentleman has a lot to answer for. The FOI email trail associated with this case raises serious questions regarding the possibility of ministerial interference.”