Toowoomba businessman Denis Wagner photographed here at Wellcamp Airport. Pictures: Jack Tran
Toowoomba businessman Denis Wagner photographed here at Wellcamp Airport. Pictures: Jack Tran

Council rebuked by Wagners over lack of support for industry

WAGNER Corporation director Denis Wagner has lashed out at Toowoomba Regional Council in the wake of a court judgement worth millions.

The Court of Appeal delivered a mixed bag for Wagners and Toowoomba Regional Council on Tuesday afternoon in a long-running legal dispute over tens of millions of dollars of infrastructure charges.

The saga, which had dragged on for more than three years, saw the Court of Appeal agree with a May 2019 decision by the Planning and Environment Court which cleared Wagners of having to pay more than $20 million in stormwater infrastructure charges across the whole Wellcamp development.

The court found the decision to levy stormwater charges on infrastructure that caused no additional demand on the stormwater system was unlawful.

But in a win for the council, the court ruled that Wagners' original, successful appeals against the traffic trunk infrastructure charges were dismissed, allowing the council to charge as per the infrastructure charges notice.

Mr Wagner said the company was reviewing the court decision and what action to take.

"One of the biggest frustrations with the Toowoomba Regional Council is their lack of willingness to help drive new industry in this region," he said.

"There has been a significant cost to both us and the ratepayers to run this action and what the council has achieved is a much worse result for the people it represents.

"We have asked for many years that the charging regime that is applied to the Wellcamp Business Park be consistent with charges applied to other industrial developments within the Charlton Wellcamp area.

"After analysis of charges applied to competing developments, it is apparent the council does not apply the rules consistently for all developers."

Mr Wagner said the Court of Appeal decision to uphold the previous ruling on stormwater infrastructure was really one of common sense.

He said that for traffic infrastructure charges: "We have never suggested we should not pay the appropriate amount however, we do have concerns that the council can pick an arbitrary figure and does not have to apply a charge that reflects the true cost of the infrastructure."

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