The State Government is persisting with its pursuit of legal damages claims against Perth’s Spud King Tony Galati, despite the official demise of the State’s Potato Marketing Corporation.When the archaic PMC disappeared on December 31, after being killed off in the middle of last year, it was widely assumed Mr Galati’s decades-long battle to deregulate the potato industry had finally been won.
But apparently unwilling to allow Spudshed owner Mr Galati the last word, a Supreme Court writ lodged on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Food WA just four days into the new year revealed the State’s intention to continue to try to prove allegations Mr Galati grew too many potatoes in 2015 and last year.
The writ claims damages for three alleged breaches of an agreement drawn up between Mr Galati and the State Government in July 2013.
He is said to have exceeded his quota of 1049 tonnes between October 2015 and January 2016, then exceeded 1624 tonnes between January and April last year, and exceeded 1400 tonnes between April and June last year.
The Government is claiming damages, interest and costs against Mr Galati, and his company Galati Nominees for the alleged overgrowing.
Mr Galati said the new legal action was a “kick in the guts”, and felt like a personal vendetta against him. He also said he would be making an appeal to the public to help him fund a defence of this latest legal stoush, because he could not afford to to do it personally.
“I have been fighting these bastards for 20 years,” he said.
“How this is helping the consumer or the industry is beyond me. I am dumbfounded the Government has chosen to take this on.
“With all the other issues the Government has, why would they continue this against me and my company when we employ 1500 people.
“This action puts those jobs at risk,” Mr Galati said.
A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture said the Government had “assumed responsibility upon the winding up of the Potato Marketing Corporation at the end of December 2016”.