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- Maurice Blackburn
06 November 2014
2011 Brisbane River flood sequel: Court bid to throw out Australia's largest class action
AUSTRALIA'S largest class action on behalf of victims of the 2011 floods was in the courts yesterday as Seqwater and SunWater moved to have the claim struck out.
It was the first court hearing since Maurice Blackburn Lawyers filed the claim against Seqwater, SunWater and the State of Queensland in the New South Wales Supreme Court in July.
Seqwater chief executive officer Peter Dennis said the application was based on a lack of detail in the claim.
"The public has been told for some time by the solicitors and funders for the class action that modelling by international experts has been undertaken to support an alternative water release strategy during the January 2011 flood event, that shows little or no flooding would have occurred," Mr Dennis said. "There is no reference to this modelling in the current claim.
"Seqwater considers the absence of any alternative water release strategy to be a fundamental flaw in the claim."
Lawyers for the 4500 Ipswich and Brisbane flood victims involved in the class action emerged confident from the first day of a three-day hearing into the application.
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers principal Damian Scattini said applications such as this were routine in class actions and he had no doubt the class action would proceed.
"This application is, no doubt, the first of many such skirmishes we will go through in this class action," Mr Scattini said.
"We knew that from the start and we remain confident in the strength of our case.
"Whatever happens, the class action will continue and our clients will get their day in court."
Ipswich City Councillor Paul Tully, whose Goodna home was affected by the floods, called on the State Government to negotiate a settlement of the claim.
"It is disappointing the State Government is vigorously contesting the claim given both former premier Anna Bligh and (then) opposition leader Campbell Newman indicated the state should act as a model litigant in any legal proceedings," Cr Tully said.
"I am calling on the State Government to negotiate a settlement of the claim without wasting more taxpayers' money on lawyers' fighting what is the largest class action ever launched in Australia.
"Home and businesses owners who are part of the class action deserve to be fully compensated for their losses."
Whatever happens, the class action will continue and our clients will get their day in court.