07 November 2014

Brisbane River Flood victims get trial date set for July 2016

Queen St Goodna - January 2011
Victims of southeast Queensland's devastating 2011 floods have a trial date set for the largest class action in Australian history.

The class action for approximately 4500 flood victims will be heard in court on July 18, 2016, according to lawyers representing the victims.

The date was handed down on Thursday at the Federal Court of Australia to the relief of victims, who claim dam operators were negligent during the 2011 flood.

As the rain pelted down and water backed up, operators were forced to make large water releases to prevent Wivenhoe dam from collapsing.

The result was unnecessary flooding in Brisbane and Ipswich to the west, lawyers have claimed.

Previous estimates have suggested a possible compensation claim of $1 billion.

Maurice Blackburn principal Damian Scattini says the trial date may seem distant, but it's sooner than expected and there is a lot of work to do.

Many of the victims, he said, thought it would never happen.

The action was lodged in NSW because there's no class action regime in Queensland.



COMMENT:  It's now time for Premier Campbell Newman, Seqwater and SunWater to do what the Premier said he would do in 2012 and act like a "model litigant". This issue has dragged on for almost 4 years and the state government and its two recalcitrant agencies should now offer to sit around the negotiating table to achieve an honourable outcome for the 4500 flood victims who suffered so much on 11-12 January 2011. This should provide a just outcome without the necessity of a long, drawn-out Supreme Court trial where the only guaranteed winners are the lawyers. - Paul Tully