End of the Road for DADI

On 14 September 2017, the High Court of Australia refused the special leave application of Dial a Dump Industries Pty Ltd (DADI), who had been seeking approximately $200,000,000 in compensation in connection with the compulsory acquisition of the Alexandria Landfill site in St Peters, for the purposes of the WestConnex project.

DADI had been seeking to appeal the NSW Court of Appeal's decision that DADI did not have an interest in land for the purposes of the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (Just Terms Act) and was therefore not entitled to any compensation.

Lower Court Decision

In August 2015, DADI appealed the rejection of its claim for compensation to the Land and Environment Court (LEC). In early 2016, Chief Justice Preston of the LEC was asked to consider a separate question in relation to whether DADI had an interest in land for the purposes of the Just Terms Act. The answer to that question was "no".

Court of Appeal Decision

In April 2017, the Court of Appeal unanimously upheld the decision of Chief Justice Preston. The Court of Appeal found that:

  • DADI did not have a legal interest in land on the basis that it did not have exclusive possession of the land.
  • DADI did not have an equitable interest in land because, although DADI was the beneficiary of a discretionary trust, DADI did not have a beneficial interest in the trust assets, of which the lease of the land allegedly formed part.
  • DADI did not have a right, power or privilege over or in connection with the land because:
    • at most, DADI had the rights of an agent or licensee, as although it could determine how the businesses were carried on, "it could not otherwise control or direct what went on on the land, except on behalf of the Alexandria landfill group", and
    • DADI had no right, power or privilege capable of alienation or being sold or transferred, and accordingly, DADI's rights were "no greater than its obligation to conduct the two businesses" on behalf of Alexandria Landfill Pty Ltd, the registered proprietor, and Boiling Pty Ltd, the lessee, for so long as those entities permitted it to do so.

Alexandria Landfill Pty Ltd and Boiling Pty Ltd have also commenced proceedings in the LEC objecting to the amount of compensation offered in connection with the compulsory acquisition of the Alexandria Landfill. These proceedings are ongoing.

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Contacts:

NICOLA TARGETT   SUZY WHITTY         
       

NICOLA TARGETT 
SENIOR ASSOCIATE
+61 9947 6863
nicola.targett@hdy.com.au

 

SUZY WHITTY
LAWYER
+61 9947 6230
suzy.whitty@hdy.com.au