Ap­peal Court fixes wa­ter date

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - NEWS -

STAN­LEY’S ap­peal against a Vic­to­rian Supreme Court de­ci­sion which last year al­lowed com­mer­cial ground­wa­ter ex­trac­tion for bot­tled wa­ter pro­duc­tion to pro­ceed on the Stan­ley plateau will be heard in Mel­bourne on Oc­to­ber 26.

Stan­ley Ru­ral Com­mu­nity In­cor­po­rated – a not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion which ad­vo­cates for the vil­lage and farm­ing district – has raised a $30,000 surety through nu­mer­ous com­mu­nity cam­paigns to pro­vi­sion against costs.

The surety was sought by Stan­ley Pas­toral, a com­pany con­trolled by the Carey fam­ily which in turn op­er­ates Black Mount Spring Wa­ter.

The com­pany was li­censed by Goul­burnMur­ray wa­ter late in 2013 to take and use 19 me­gal­itres of ground­wa­ter for com­mer­cial pur­poses from a small prop­erty which it owns south of Stan­ley.

It trucks the wa­ter to Al­bury where is used for bot­tled wa­ter pro­duc­tion.

The long-run­ning dis­pute be­gan Indigo Shire Coun­cil re­jected a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion from the com­pany be­cause the coun­cil be­lieved its plan­ning scheme ex­pressly shielded Stan­ley’s high qual­ity agri­cul­tural land from de­vel­op­ment.

The Careys then ap­pealed that de­ci­sion in the Vic­to­rian Civil and Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal, which al­lowed the wa­ter en­ter­prise to pro­ceed.

The Stan­ley com­mu­nity then pur­sued the mat­ter into the Supreme Court, but Jus­tice Michael McDon­ald dis­missed the com­mu­nity’s case when he de­ter­mined that Stan­ley Pas­toral did not re­quire a per­mit from Indigo coun­cil to take the wa­ter.

The court re­counted VCAT rea­son­ing that the plan­ning scheme did not in­clude a spe­cific pro­vi­sion, which the coun­cil was em­pow­ered to have un­der the Plan­ning and En­vi­ron­ment Act, nam­ing ground­wa­ter ex­trac­tion as a land use for which a plan­ning per­mit would be re­quired.

Jus­tice McDon­ald said that sec­tion 8 of the Wa­ter Act gave Stan­ley Pas­toral a statu­tory right at the time the G-MW licence was is­sued to take and use the wa­ter, as li­censed.

SRCI is ap­peal­ing Jus­tice McDon­ald’s judge­ment.

Mr Tyrie yes­ter­day said it was “good to have a date for the (Ap­peal Court) hear­ing”.

“It will de­ter­mine this mat­ter once and for all,” he said.

“It’s been a long haul and the com­mu­nity will fi­nally have its day in court.”

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