Glad-handing Adani
Monday, April 17, 2017
Justinian in Adani, Class action, Maurice Blackburn, Personal injury, Week @ The Knees

April 11 to April 17 ... Turnbull to "fix" native title for Adani ... Manslaughter conviction overturned amid calls to renew state funding to Kimberley Interpreting Service ... Maurice Blackburn tugging on Woolies' tail ... Scienceworks sued after man runs into a wall ... Joyce and Hinch prescribe remedies for over-inflated housing market ... Week@TheKnees with Sohini Mehta 

DURING his three-day tour of India PM Malcolm Turnbull met with mining magnate Gautam Adani to discuss the status of the proposed Carmichael coal mine. 

Turnbull assured Adani that native title hurdles threatening the mine in central Queensland will be "fixed" - a reference to amendments to the Native Title Act swiftly introduced following the landmark McGlade ruling in February, which found Indigenous Land Use Agreements can't be registered unless signed by all named title claimants.  

The PM also confirmed Adani will apply to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for a $900 million loan to finance a rail line from the Galilee Basin to Adani's Abbot Point coal terminal. 

Former federal Liberal leader Dr John Hewson, a professor of economics, said taxpayer money via the NAIF should only be used to help projects become commercially viable. 

Turnbull's assurances that the approval process would be impartial came as acting PM Barnaby Joyce defended the use of public funds for the loan, saying the government wanted to turn the Galilee Basin into a "cash cow for Australia".

"I know the greenies will go off their heads," Joyce noted perceptively.

Lawyers at Environmental Justice Australia wrote to the directors of the NAIF on Tuesday (April 11) sharing legal advice that, under the Public Governance Performance and Accountability Act 2013, NAIF directors would be personally in breach of duties to consider the financial risks associated with climate change if they approve investment in the proposed Galilee Basin rail project.

Australian Conservation Foundation president Geoff Cousins said on Tuesday that the ACF "will consider all avenues, including possible legal options, to halt the most destructive coal mine in Australian history and protect the [Great Barrier] Reef". 

*   *   *

Interpreters and the Aboriginal Legal Service are urging the Western Australian government to reinstate funding to Kimberly Interpreting Service (KIS), the state's only indigenous language interpreting service, following the wrongful conviction of an Aboriginal man. 

Gene Gibson, a Pentupi man from Kiwirrkurra, spent five years in prison for fatally striking 21-year-old Josh Warneke in 2010. On Wednesday (April 12), Gibson was released by the supreme court which ruled his conviction had been a miscarriage of justice - Gibson didn't speak English sufficiently and lacked the capacity to understand the legal process. 

State funding of $200,000 a year to KIS was cut in 2014. KIS now relies solely on federal funding of about $400,000 a year, which is not enough to provide training for police and court officers.

*   *   *

Low hanging fruit for Maurice BlackburnFollowing more than 18-months of investigation, law firm Maurice Blackburn, supported by global litigation funding giant IMF Bentham, is proposing to run a shareholder class action after accusing Woolworths of breaching its disclosure obligations by failing to keep investors in the loop about "significant risks" to its 2015 profit guidance.

The potential $100 million class action follows a profit warning in February 2015, when former Woolworths chief executive Grant O'Brien announced it was downgrading its issued guidance of growth of 4-7 percent to 1.8 per cent. 

Woolworths shares plunged 13.7 percent in two days, from $33.95 to $29.29, and bottomed out at $20.50 in July 2016. 

Aggrieved shareholders could only participate in the claim if they acquired shares at inflated values, between the annual meeting on November 27, 2014, when former chairman Ralph Waters "emphatically" reaffirmed the inflated net profit growth guidance, and February 28, 2015, when Woolworths slashed its forecasted growth rate. 

Maurice Blackburn principal Andrew Watson alleged that Woolworths was aware its profit projections were subject to "a variance" as early as October 2014, citing significant evidence from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

*   *   *

Australian man Dean Smith is suing Melbourne's Scienceworks museum after being "enticed to run as fast as he could in a poorly lit exhibit" where visitors pit themselves against a simulation of 400m Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman. 

Smith ran into a wall and suffered significant injuries - including a crushed vertebra, several fractured bones and a subsequent stroke. 

Smith is represented by Nick Korkliniewski, from personal injury law shop Arnold Thomas & Becker.  

In a writ lodged in the Victorian supreme court last week, Korkliniewski argues the museum failed to appropriately discharge its duty to prevent the risk of injury as the track was poorly lit, with a very short stopping distance at the end of the race and should not have led to a wall. 

Smith's wife, Rachel, told the Hun: "When he arrived at the trauma unit ... they said to me he's pretty much done the closest job to knocking his head off his shoulders as you possibly can without dying."

*   *   *

Joyce: innovative response to housing affordabilityBarnaby Joyce made a heartful plea to would-be homeowners on Tuesday (April 11) to consider relocating from the expensive Sydney and Melbourne housing markets to Tamworth.

His heedless comments were overshadowed by Justice Party Senator Derryn Hinch, who told AM the same day that "owning your own home is not an Australian right" and that millennials can't expect to have "the two-car garage". 

Hinch also invoked the 90s sitcom Seinfeld in a bizarre effort to convince young people in Australia to get used to indefinitely renting, as their counterparts in foreign markets like NYC have done. 

In a speech to the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute in Melbourne last Monday (April 10) morning, Treasurer Scott Morrison announced the government's intent to establish an Affordable Housing Finance corporation to deliver low-interest loans for community housing projects. 

Morrison affirmed government support for current negative gearing but didn't mention restructuring the capital gains tax concession, believed to be under consideration in the upcoming May budget. 

Article originally appeared on Justinian: Australian legal magazine. News on lawyers and the law (http://justinian.com.au/).
See website for complete article licensing information.