Following the right road
Victorian Supreme Court decision highlights importance of adopting the right procedure when making a decision about the future of a road
A decision handed down by the Victorian Supreme Court on 27 July - Pulitano Pastoral Pty Ltd v Mansfield Shire Council – highlights the critical importance of adopting the right procedure when making a decision about the future of a road.
In that case, a decision to remove a road from a Road Register was successfully challenged on the ground that the Resolution did not demonstrate that the council had formed the requisite opinion under the Road Management Act 2004. The Resolution was also legally defective because of a failure to afford natural justice to the owner of land abutting the road.
Similarly, a subsequent decision to discontinue the road was quashed. This was because the Resolution initiating the procedure for discontinuance wrongly suggested that the council had already formed the opinion that the road was no longer reasonably required as a road.
Not every decision relating to a road will be as contentious. There are, however, valuable lessons about the procedure (and the form of Resolution necessary) that councils would do well to heed.
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