Federal MP Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal has lost a Supreme Court bid to overturn a decision to reject a significant status declaration for Abbot Point plans.
Clive Palmer’s attempt to have a stand alone coal terminal at Abbot Point declared a significant project has failed in the Supreme Court in Brisbane.
Queensland’s Co-ordinator-General refused to give Waratah Coal’s proposal the status in August 2012 and Mr Palmer, who is renowned for being highly litigious, launched legal action.
The project was found not to fit government policy to create multi-user terminals and incrementally build port capacity.
The status could have streamlined approval of the project, which included a new rail spur, coal stockyard, conveyers, jetty, and ship loaders.
Waratah originally planned to develop the China First Project with various Chinese state-owned enterprises, to export coal from the Galilee basin through Abbot Point, in north Queensland, court papers read.
It intended to use terminals 4 to 9 at the proposed port expansion and was granted a “significant project” by the Co-ordinator-General in 2008.
But when learning in 2011 that terminal 4 – 9 may not proceed, Waratah began planning its own stand alone jetty and applied for “significant project” status in January 2012.
In contesting the rejection in the Supreme Court, Waratah argued the Co-ordinator-General erred by relying on ministerial statements to enact government policy rather than using the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act.
But Justice Peter Applegarth on Thursday sided the Co-ordinator-General to dismiss the action taken by Waratah and ordered it to pay all costs.
“Waratah has failed to establish the grounds upon which it seeks a declaration that the decision … was not a valid exercise of power,” he wrote.
Mr Palmer, now federal MP for Fairfax, was contacted by AAP and asked whether he’d still proceed with the project without a “significant project” status.
He hadn’t seen the judgment and declined to comment.
When offered a copy via email Mr Palmer replied: “I haven’t got time, I’m too busy on the Tasmanian elections, I’m not in business anymore, okey doke”.
The loss is Mr Palmer’s second in the Supreme Court following an unsuccessful action taken against the Queensland Treasurer and the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation in August last year, protesting the decision to downsize the Abbot Point expansion, acting Premier and state development minister Jeff Seeney said.
He said Thursday’s loss again exposed Mr Palmer’s total lack of credibility.
“For too long Mr Palmer has made unsubstantiated allegations suggesting he hasn’t been given a fair go by the Queensland government, but the Supreme Court has found no evidence to support those claims,” he said.