Aussie World at Palmview.
Aussie World at Palmview. Erle Levey

How a "5” on a form led Aussie World to lose court fight

THE company behind tourist icon Aussie World will have to pay nearly $150,000 in damages after it was found to have breached a contract with one of its former business interests.

Aquavista Pty Ltd, as trustee for the Walsh Family Trust and trading as Coastal Amusements, sued Timevale Pty Ltd, as trustee for the Ettamogah Qld Unit and trading as Aussie World, for breach of contract and damages after its contract for providing coin-operated amusement machines at the Frizzo Road site was terminated in May 2013.

Aussie World was cancelling Coastal Amusements' contract, which had been operating on the site since before 2007, so a "larger operator could be brought in".

But Coastal Amusements argued Aussie World couldn't do this as a five-year contract had been signed for the placement of the machines in October 2010.

Aussie World's former general manager, David Thompson, disputed this in the trial, which was heard in the Maroochydore District Court in March 2015.

Judge Gary Long handed down his judgement in the lengthy and complicated matter this week.

Aussie World is also being sued in the Federal Court in Victoria by Ettamogah Pub's copyright owners Southern Equity for breach of copyright.

The case has been ongoing for two years since Timevale ended its licence agreement with Southern Equity, four years before its 25-year copyright deal was due to expire.

Since then, the site formerly known as the Ettamogah Pub has had no name.

Southern Equity's Leigh O'Brien said the case was due for trial in March next year.

In the case of Aquavista versus Timevale, the decision boiled down to a little green piece of paper and whether it had an imprint "5" indicating a five-year contract.

The white copy, the original, Mr Thompson argued did not have the number five included on it for the 32 amusements machines to be situated at the site.

It was argued the "5" was only added after his contract was terminated, which was disputed.

Judge Long ruled a five-year contract had been mutually agreed on and thus Aussie World was in breach of contract and Mr Walsh was entitled to seek damages.

The next question that arose was as to how much in damages could be claimed. Aussie World's accountant argued it was between $38,000 and $52,000, while Mr Walsh's accountant argued it was between $122,694 and $138,000.

Judge Long assessed the damages at $148,653 including interest of $25,959.

Aussie World chief operating officer Aaron Flanagan said Timevale was "considering the court's findings and was not in a position to make any sort of comment".

An Aussie World spokesman said the name of the pub was also due to be revealed.