Outback Wrangler star Matt Wright and his Instagram influencer wife Kaia have been brought back down to earth with a ban on using their helicopter like a family car.
Neighbours complained about the couple constantly flying in and out of their semi-rural Virginia property at all times, 30km south-east of Darwin, Northern Territory.
But the Wrights insisted they were entitled to do so because of his established ‘existing use’ and said he didn’t use his home like a ‘passenger terminal or heliport’.
‘I have for many years utilised helicopters as a principal means of transport for myself, family and friends,’ Wright, 44, added.
‘Not dissimilar to how people use motor vehicles, I will fly in and out of our home in the morning and back in the evening.’
NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal has now grounded the Wrights two years after neighbours first protested about the noise, triggering a lengthy legal battle.
Outback Wrangler star Matt Wright and his Instagram influencer wife Kaia have been brought back down to earth with a ban on using their helicopter like a family car
Neighbours complained about the couple constantly flying in and out of their semi-rural Virginia property at all times, 30km south-east of Darwin, Northern Territory
Two formal complaints were lodged with NT Development Consent Authority (DCA) in 2021 accusing the Wrights of using their home as a landing zone without permission.
They claimed flights in and out had increased and the Wrights were now using the home for their tourism business. The DCA found in favour of the neighbours in May.
‘There is no dispute Matthew Wright uses an area of the property as a place used for the landing or takeoff of helicopters,’ the DCA ruled, reported the NT News.
‘The applicants have contravened, are contravening and will contravene… the Planning Act.’
The couple insisted they had bought the property in 2017, two years before a new law changed the rules around landing sites.
They claimed that because they used the property for the helicopter flights before the change in the law, they were allowed to continue to do so.
‘Because the helicopter use was not a separate use of the property, the existing use provisions of the Planning Act are not engaged as there has been no change in the use of the land from residential living,’ they said in defence, the NT News reported.
The DCA dismissed the Wrights’ claims though and said the ‘existing use’ was irrelevant as the planning laws still needed to be observed.
The Netflix reality TV star – who is facing criminal charges over the death of his best mate Chris ‘Willow’ Wilson who died while collecting crocodile eggs in 2022 – took the case to NTCAT earlier this year.
The Wrights insisted they were entitled to fly in their helicopters (pictured) because of his established ‘existing use’ and said he didn’t use his home like a ‘passenger terminal or heliport’
But last Friday, the NTCAT found the family had breached the laws by continuing to fly out of their property despite the change to the rules.
After eight months of hearings, NTCAT president Mark O’Reilly rejected the Wrights’ claim that the DCA notice unfairly punished them.
He confirmed the DCA’s flight ban and added: ‘It is always open to a legislature to make illegal something that was previously legal.’