Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Flood Victims Get Their Day in Court Class Action Moves Ahead

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Flood Victims Get Their Day in Court Class Action Moves Ahead

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Bennion brian.bennion@qt.com.au

FLOOD victims from Ipswich will get their chance to fight for compensation with a trial date set for July 2016.

The class action headed to court this week as two of the three defendants, Seqwater and SunWater, moved to have the claim struck out.

Their application was based on a lack of detail in the claim, arguing an absence of any alternative water release strategy was a fundamental flaw.

The State of Queensland did not support the application before the court.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers principal Damian Scattini yesterday said the judge had ruled the case would continue.

"It is good news that we have a trial date," Mr Scattini said.

"There will be people that look at that as some time away but there is plenty of work to do before then. It's a good outcome.

"People will have their day in court. There's nothing that will stop that."

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers filed the claim in the New South Wales Supreme Court in July on behalf of more than 4500 affected residents and business owners.

Their case claims dam engineers were negligent in their handling of the disaster which ultimately led to huge volumes of water being released downstream as a last resort to protect the structural integrity of the dam.

The 150-page claim was lodged in NSW because there is no avenue in Queensland to launch a class action.

The operators of Wivenhoe Dam have denied any wrongdoing.

SunWater declined to comment on the matter and Seqwater would not comment on yesterday's developments.

The water corporations' moves to strike out the statement of claim only appeared to boost the confidence of homeowners and businesses that have joined the class action.

Goodna homeowner Frank Beaumont (pictured front page), whose home of 27 years was completely submerged in the floodwaters, leaving nothing but three walls, the roof and internal timber frames to return to, yesterday said he was pleased to hear the claim was going ahead. …

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