Industry Research and Development Board [2000] FCA 979

February 26th, 2014

In the matter of Industry Research and Development (IR&D) Board v Coal & Allied Operations (C&A), the federal court ruled in favor of C&A, dismissing the IR&D Board’s application.


  • The IR&D Board declined to give a certificate in respect of some of C&A’s activities, which C&A claimed were “research and development activities”.

  • The facts relate to C&A’s “Alluvial Lands Project”. The objective was to enable alluvial lands to be mined, and, to that end, to prevent, by the construction of a four kilometre long cut-off wall and levee bank, the intrusion of water into the lands to be mined. The coal mining on alluvial lands had not been tried previously in Australia.

  • The IR&D Board decided that none of the Construction, Dewatering and Blasting and Mining activities in the project were core or supporting R&D activities.

  • C&A took the matter to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)  where the decision was made that the activities in dispute did satisfy the definition of R&D activities.

  • The IR&D Board appealed the AAT decision to the Federal Court.


  • The appeal was dismissed with costs, resulting in a loss for the IR&D Board.

  • The Federal Court agreed with the AAT conclusion that the Construction (of the cutoff wall and levee bank) activity was a core activity and that the Dewatering activity and the Blasting and Mining activity were supporting activities.

Click here to view the Industry Research & Development Board v Coal & Allied Operations Pty Ltd case.