State mulls McDonald’s appeal

But neither local residents nor Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey are holding their breath.

Late last year, SAT judge David Parry reversed the State Government’s rejection of the $4.6 million restaurant, despite an earlier Development Assessment Panel (DAP) unanimously voting against the proposal.

In handing down his ruling, Judge Parry called into question components of the case presented by the State Solicitor’s Office, namely discrepancies between the witness statement and testimony of a key witness.

Michael McCormick, spokes-man for a group of nearby residents protesting the development, shared those criticisms, stating that McDonald’s had simply “outgunned” the State solicitor.

“The Premier didn’t listen to our requests to provide the State Solicitor’s Office with sufficient support to compete on a level playing field with the McDonald’s team,” he said. “They had a solicitor up against a barrister supported by two solicitors.

“Maccas put up two experienced traffic consultants and the State traffic consultant wasn’t as experienced; it was pretty clear early on how the case would go.”

Acting Planning Minister Liza Harvey disputed the accusation that the State Solicitor’s Office was under-resourced.

“I understand the matter was argued on behalf of the Development Assessment Panel by a senior solicitor with considerable experience in planning matters at SAT, and was assisted by staff from the Department of Planning and the DAP presiding member, who is also a planner,” she said.

Mrs Harvey said the State Solicitor’s Office was still considering the decision.

But Cr Aubrey said he doubted any further action.

“Based on precedent, I believe it is very unlikely that the State Government would appeal the ruling and it would be unfair to raise the hopes of our residents to suggest otherwise,” he said. “The most viable option now is to encourage residents and McDonald’s to work together to ensure noise, odour and traffic amelioration mechanisms are established and put into practice.”

Mr McCormick said he was not pinning his hopes on an appeal either but was exploring other legal avenues.

“We’re busy looking at the judgement to see if an error was made at all that might provide grounds for a review,” he said.