Former Linc Energy boss takes govt to court

A JUDGE will decide in the coming weeks whether or not a proper environmental order was given to Linc Energy founder Peter Bond earlier this year, directing him to clean up an underground gas project site near Chinchilla.

The Queensland Department of Environment issued Mr Bond with the environmental protection order in May, stating it was not satisfied Mr Bond had taken all the reasonable steps to ensure Linc Energy complied with its environmental obligations.

Linc Energy went into voluntary administration in April this year and the company's creditors resolved that it be wound up the following month.

But Mr Bond, who was Linc's managing director and the board chairman, claims the state government's environmental order he was given did not contain the proper details, as required by legislation, of how to request a review or appeal.

Lawyers argued about this point of law at the Planning and Environment Court in Brisbane on Friday.

In documents before the court, Mr Bond's lawyers said the department should have given him "special circumstances" because the environmental order he received relied on complex studies and research.

The lawyers claimed that under the legislation the department should have given him more than 10 days to apply for a review and in not doing so, it denied Mr Bond natural justice.

But lawyers acting for the Department of Environment and the chief executive said Mr Bond declined an offer for more time to prepare his internal review application.

Nearly a fortnight after receiving the environmental order, Mr Bond wrote to the department requesting an internal review.

The department sent another letter to him, offering him a further 20 days to apply for an internal review in light of the special circumstances.

In response, Mr Bond's lawyers said 20 days was not long enough under "special circumstances".

The department has argued that Mr Bond did not seek an extension of time to apply for "special circumstances" before he lodged his review application. The lawyers said he sought the review without first seeking this dispensation.

The Planning and Environment Court judge is expected to make a decision in the coming weeks.


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