Milne may take rally to court
TWEED Greens councillor Katie Milne said she was contemplating taking the organisers of the Repco Rally to the Federal Court to stop the event, even though she risks bankruptcy if she loses the case.
North Coast environmentalists have raised a fighting fund of $16,000 to lodge an application with the Federal Court for an injunction to stop the rally, planned to run in the Tweed and Kyogle Shires from September 3 to 6.
The rally is backed by the Paris-based FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) with a warchest of millions.
The injuction application was originally due to be lodged today but two Sydney barristers are still considering the case's strength.
Ms Milne said she was not the only person willing to become the application's plantiff; there were four other individuals along with local environmental groups.
“It's going to be up to the lawyers to work out the best contender,” she said. “I don't see it as putting my head on the chopping block. I think it's more like putting your hand up for hero status. The plantiff will be very welcome in the Tweed.
“I don't even know if I'm numero uno. There are special requirements for the courts, so there are only certain people who are qualified to be able to do that.”
Ms Milne said if she was bankrupted by the case she would automatically be dismissed as a Tweed councillor but she was confident the court would rule in favour of the environmentalists.
“We're hoping to get the costs from the other side, we're hoping to make a profit,” she said.
The Environmental Defenders Office, a not-for-profit community legal centre, are the instructing solicitors and the principal lawyer is Kirsty Ruddock, daughter of the former immigration minister.
Sue Higginson, a senior lawyer working on the case, said it would be argued that the rally organisers have breached the Federal Envrionmetnal Protection and Biological Conservation (EPBC) Act, because they had failed to notify the federal government of the rally.
Ms Higginson said although the state government had passed a special act of parliament for the rally, organisers also needed permission from the commonwealth.