08 November 2014

SEQ class action set down for 2016 Supreme Court hearing

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The class action will go ahead in 2016.
A class action launched against the Queensland Government and its two water authorities will go ahead in 2016.

The Supreme Court in Sydney today struck out the class action's statement of claim - but would allow it to be amended for the case to be heard on July 18, 2016.

Law firm Maurice Blackburn is representing about 4,500 Brisbane and Ipswich flood victims in a bid to claw back more than $1 billion lost in the disaster.

The class action claims too much water was released from Wivenhoe Dam at the peak of the floods to unnecessarily push up the Brisbane and Bremer rivers.

Two of the three defendants - SEQ Water and Sunwater - .

The other defendant, the state of Queensland, did not support the motion.

The Supreme Court today ruled the plaintiff did not address adequately the phrase "risk of harm" as it appeared in the Civil Liability Act.

There was also not enough detail on the cause of the flood nor what height the plaintiff thought would have been appropriate in the lead up to future downpours.

"As well, the plaintiff needed to address its allegations of breach of duty by deleting those allegations which deal with states of mind, and limiting its claim for breach of duty to allegations of acting inappropriately or failing to act appropriately," the judgement said.

The court ruled the class action's statement of claim would be re-pleaded.

"We're pleased that we have a road map for our clients to the final resolution of this case," said Maurice Blackburn's Damian Scattini.

"Preparing for trial in a case of this size and significance takes enormous resources, so while for some July 2016 may seem like a long way off, we will be using every day between now and the trial to bring the strongest case possible before the court."

Seqwater said it was pleasing the Court is asking Maurice Blackburn to clearly articulate its case

In 2012, the Queensland Floods Commission found the dam's manual was not properly followed on the weekend leading up to the flood peak.

More than 78 per cent of Queensland was declared a disaster zone during the floods in December 2010 and January 2011, which affected more than 2.5 million people.