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Perilya prepared to go all the way

Saturday, 9th May, 2015

By Andrew Robertson

Perilya says it’s prepared to take its long-running dispute with the NSW Valuer-General as far as it can go after the Land and Environment Court dismissed its appeal this week.

The judgement by Justice Peter Biscoe means the Valuer-General’s original 2007 land valuation of $20.9 million for Perilya’s local mine stands.

But the four year case appears set to continue with Perilya’s managing director Paul Arndt yesterday indicating the mining company would likely appeal the decision.

“We’re pretty confident that when the arguments are fully considered that we’ve got a strong position,” Mr Arndt said.

He said that while Perilya disagreed with the latest judgement, it was not surprise by it.

The company now has the option to have the matter heard in the Court of Appeal.  

Asked if the company was prepared to the take the matter as far as it could go, Mr Arndt said: “I think that we have to ... We invested a fair bit of money and time in the case and we feel we’re just right.” 

Perilya disputed the original valuation and initially had its appeal upheld by the Land and Environment Court in 2012, resulting in the slashing of the land value to $4.9 million.  

The matter was sent back to the court after the Valuer-General appealed to the Court of Appeal, which in 2013 found the judgement did not take the value of the royalties of the minerals into account.

Valuer-General Simon Gilkes said yesterday that for the past 18 months the two parties had been putting up submissions and counter submissions around procedural matters and what evidence should be considered by the court. 

 “That culminated in the decision this week by Justice Biscoe not to allow Perilya’s latest submission ... and Perilya on that basis advised the court that its appeal could not succeed and so Justice Biscoe dismissed the matter from the court,” Mr Gilkes said.

“In terms of what that means in the real world, it’s basically enforcing the status quo so there’s no (change) in terms of rating and taxing liabilities compared to what the original valuation was.”

Mr Gilkes said the Valuer-General’s office was confident the original valuation was correct and “hence went to those efforts to defend that valuation”.

“Whether anything further happens in the Court of Appeal is a matter for the future. I can’t comment on that but certainly I was pleased with the judgement this week that confirmed that original valuation.”

The Land and Environment Court’s initial decision had major implications for City Council, which faced the prospect of refunding almost $7m in overpaid rates to Perilya.

This week’s decision also potentially affects a number of other appeals pending in the Land and Environment Court, which had been held off while the Perilya matter was being played out.

“There are subsequent valuations on the register ... those other valuations are consistent with the approach that was taken with the original valuation here so if nothing were to change the status quo would prevail,” Mr Gilkes said. 

Mayor Wincen Cuy said yesterday that the ongoing court action continued to create uncertainty for Council which was simply “the meat in the sandwich”. 

“It would be nice to know where we stand so we can plan for the future,” he said.

“(But) It’s my belief Perilya will appeal the decision and we’ll be back in court.”

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