The Queensland Government, the largest shareholder in Brisbane Airport, were
last night celebrating a comprehensive win over shopping centre giants Centro
and Westfield.

The Federal Court last month ruled that Brisbane Airport was allowed to develop
1000ha of vacant land into a leisure precinct under the provisions of the
Airports Act. Westfield and Centro are not used to losing and initially
foreshadowed an appeal. Alas, Centro yesterday aborted this strategy in what
looks like a peace deal with Discount Factory Outlets over legal costs.
Brisbane Airport is not taking a backward step and continues to push to have
all its estimated $1 million in costs covered by Centro and Westfield.

Crikey has followed this saga closely in recent times and a package of our
coverage is on the site here. This is part of what Brisbane Airport said yesterday:

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has received Notices of Discontinuance filed
in the Federal Court by Centro, withdrawing from Appeals in the full Federal
Court against BAC, the Minister for Transport and Regional Services and Direct
Factory Outlets (DFO).

The appeal had been against a judgment by His Honour Justice Cooper, who
dismissed allegations by Westfield and Centro about the legality of property
development activities being undertaken or conceived by BAC. The allegations
had centred on the signature Number 1 Airport Drive precinct – in particular
the construction of a Direct Factory Outlet.

Centro bought the Toonbull shopping centre near Brisbane Airport from Westfield
for $207.5 million in a package deal announced in mid 2003, and can’t be too pleased with the experience. It looks
like the sale agreement may have obliged Centro to enter into some
Westfield-style legal brawling at the first sign of any competition emerging on
the scene.

Now they have been humilated and suffered an expensive legal bill as the
Queensland Government stood firm behind Brisbane Airport’s right to complete
the $26 million DFO building which is due to open in September.