Milne battles Repco Rally
TWEED Greens Party councillor Katie Milne intends to go to court again on Monday in her non-stop battle to halt the Repco Rally Australia world championship car race.
And she is planning the new legal action even though she already faces bankruptcy following failed legal action this week.
Cr Milne yesterday announced she would apply for an injunction against the car rally in the NSW Land and Environment Court, hoping that court won't dismiss her application as quickly as the Federal Court of Australia did on Thursday.
She faces a $40,000 bill for that court case after Repco Rally Australia organisers revealed they would chase her for their legal expenses at a Federal Court costs hearing next Wednesday.
Cr Milne admits she does not have the money to pay “at this stage”.
But even if she goes bankrupt, her position as a Tweed councillor appears safe after council officials confirmed yesterday that bankruptcy would not disqualify her from staying on the council.
On Thursday, Justice Margaret Stone sitting in the Federal Court in Sydney found Cr Milne's application for an injunction to stop the rally, due to be held in the Tweed and Kyogle shires next Friday, Saturday and Sunday, was “without merit”.
Yesterday, Repco Rally Australia organising committee chairman Garry Connelly said the organisation would claim for costs, which he estimated were “in the vicinity of $40,000”.
“It was an expensive exercise ... and an unnecessary exercise,” he said.
“It was done very late in the piece. They left it right to the death knell to go to the court.
“It cost us a lot of money.
“We are a not-for-profit organisation made up of member car clubs from all over Australia and they forced us to spend a heck of a lot of money.”
An unrepentant Cr Milne said she would try again on Monday, criticising the Federal Court for “not even hearing” her expert ecological witness and spending little time on the case.
“We will be seeking an injunction in the NSW Land and Environment Court. We are looking to file on Monday,” she said, adding that the NSW Government had not “properly gazetted” special laws for the rally and “haven't even declared the rally period yet”.
Cr Milne said she was “really furious” at how the Federal Court had heard her case, describing it as one of the “fastest court cases in history”.
“Justice Stone was assigned to hear the case for three hours only,” Cr Milne said.
“We didn't even have a chance for all the issues to be heard. They assign 600 police for five days including training, but they couldn't even assign a judge for a proper full day trial to hear all the evidence.
“We knew we were gone when the judge said 'time's up, you've got one more issue you can raise'.
“We hadn't even started.”