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Australia 'Misleading, deceptive': Tenants of Central Pier launch legal action

02:15  08 october  2019
02:15  08 october  2019 Source:   theage.com.au

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Businesses at Docklands’ damaged Central Pier have launched legal action in the federal court over claims Development Victoria engaged in " misleading and deceptive " conduct in its role as the landlord of the precinct. Tenants lodged the action in the Federal Court on Monday

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a boat sitting on top of a building: Businesses at the damaged Central Pier are suing Development Victoria for $100 million.© Tash Sorensen Businesses at the damaged Central Pier are suing Development Victoria for $100 million. Businesses at Docklands’ damaged Central Pier have launched legal action in the federal court over claims Development Victoria was "misleading and deceptive" in the way it managed the precinct's closure.

Tenants lodged the action in the Federal Court on Monday, five weeks after the pier was dramatically evacuated and closed due to safety concerns about its structural integrity.

Development Victoria, the state authority responsible for the precinct, announced several weeks ago that the pier would remain closed for at least another four months.

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' Misleading , deceptive ': Tenants of Central Pier launch legal action . Businesses at Docklands' damaged Central Pier have launched legal action in the federal court over claims Development Victoria engaged in " misleading and deceptive " conduct in its role as the landlord of the

Misleading or deceptive conduct (often referred to as just misleading conduct) is a doctrine of Australian law. Section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law

In the statement of claim lodged on Monday, the businesses claim Development Victoria knew when it signed a lease with the tenants in mid-2015 that the pier was deteriorating "at an increasing rate, despite the repair works it was carrying out".

They also claim Development Victoria led tenants to believe that the repairs being undertaken would mean they could continue to do business until the end of their lease in 2026, but say this claim was "misleading and deceptive".

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"There are now serious questions as to whether Development Victoria’s repair works over the past two years have actually made things worse," a spokeswoman for the Central Pier tenants said.

The spokeswoman did not say on Monday how much the tenants would be suing for, however they have previously said they would claim in excess of $100 million.

a bridge with a building in the background: The closed pier.© Darrian Traynor The closed pier. The businesses say they have spent $50 million renovating the heritage-listed site since 2007.

Specialist marine engineers have been analysing the condition of the pier, including the 1300 underwater piles, for the past month.

Development Victoria has said a detailed assessment of the pier will take at least another few months, and that the extent of the work and time required to repair the pier will only be known once that assessment has been completed.

A safety protocol limits the number of divers and contractors to assess the pier to 20 people at a time, and the removal of items to less than 70 kilograms.

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Intention to create legal relations', otherwise an "intention to be legally bound", is a doctrine used in contract law, particularly English contract law and related common law jurisdictions. The doctrine establishes whether a court should presume that parties to an agreement wish it to be enforceable at

Statutory definition of misleading and deceptive conduct. “a person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive ”. Legal issues of financial forecasts in business. Directors personal liability for misleading and deceptive conduct.

In the statement of claim, the tenants say Development Victoria has allegedly refused to allow independent engineers on site to assess the pier.

"Development Victoria has completely mishandled and mismanaged this situation," the spokeswoman said.

"Its refusal to provide information has placed additional stress on all of the staff who are already under extreme pressure and worried about how they are going to pay their mortgages, feed their families and cover the bills.

"We are now coming into the busiest event season of the year with Spring Carnival, Christmas and New Year and our heritage sheds and maritime waterfront is out of action - it’s an absolute embarrassment forMelbourne," she said.

A Development Victoria spokesman said they intent to defend the matter.

"A detailed assessment of Central Pier by Development Victoria’s engineering consultants is underway as a priority," he said.

"The safety of people working on and using the pier remains our number one priority."

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