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AURIZON has lost its Supreme Court case against the Queensland Competition Authority and will have to pay costs of the high-powered legal battle that alleged bias by former QCA boss Roy Green.
The rail operator had been seeking a judicial review of QCA’s draft decision on how much it could make from its monopoly coal network in Queensland.
Queensland Competition Authority Chair Professor Roy Green. Picture: Zak SimmondsIt argued the decision, which gave Aurizon Holdings about $1 billion less revenue over four years than it had wanted, was tainted by apprehended bias and conflict of interest because then QCA chairman Professor Green was negotiating to take a job at rival Port of Newscastle at the time.
Professor Green today welcomed the court decision against Aurizon.
“This ruling calls into serious question the judgment and commercial acumen of the Aurizon CEO and Chairman,” he said.
“Instead of addressing the substance of the regulator’s draft access decision, they chose to pursue a time-wasting judicial review application whose grounds changed on an almost daily basis.
“In doing so they have alienated their customers, let down their shareholders and caused untold damage to their reputation.
“More fundamentally, they have amplified the problems of a vertically integrated monopoly whose privatisation enabled an above rail competitor to own the below rail network.”
A spokesman from Aurizon said it would “continue to work with the QCA and stakeholders in seeking a fairer outcome from the decision”.
The QCA declined to comment.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the court decision was good news to the State’s coal industry and its employees.
“This outcome is very important for all Queenslanders, who are set to receive more than $3.5 billion in coal royalties this financial year,” he said.
“The Court’s decision allows the QCA to finalise its decision on the future management of the Central Queensland Coal Network.”
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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