Maddens Lawyers


Maddens Lawyers have begun investigations into the Department of Defence for exposing residents of Katherine, Northern Territory to water contaminated with unsafe levels of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Residents, businesses and land-owners in and around Katherine should contact Maddens Lawyers to discuss their concerns.

Mr Brendan Pendergast, Principal of Maddens Lawyers, said that the consequences of the contaminated water may give rise to a claim for compensation against the department.

Mr Pendergast said that the community has been living with contaminated water for too long now and their concerns were not being adequately addressed. “This chemical has polluted the water they use for drinking and recreation, and closer examination should be undertaken. Access to clean unadulterated water is a fundamental human right.”

“We know that contact with water containing high levels of PFAS can have an impact on a person’s health. There is uncertainty in relation to the long term impact on the persons exposed to contaminated water. In addition to this, there is potential for land values to plummet putting more pressure on households,” Mr Pendergast said.

Maddens Lawyers has significant experience in representing large groups of people having successfully represented many hundreds of victims of bushfires across Victoria and New South Wales since 1983. This includes people affected by the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires and, more recently, the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

Anyone impacted should contact Maddens Lawyers on 1800 815 228 or email to register their details.

Registering is not a commitment to take legal action but will ensure that those affected are kept informed of developments regarding the investigation and compensation opportunities.

Given the number of people impacted, any potential claim for compensation is likely to be advanced by way of a class action.

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Media Contact:
Sarah Sheehan, Communications Manager, Maddens Lawyers: 0401 904 570


Maddens Lawyers continues to progress class action proceedings against SKM Services Pty Ltd, the owner and operator of the Coolaroo Recycling Plant, as a result of a large fire in July 2017 that impacted hundreds of local residents and businesses.

Approximately 180 residents and businesses have registered with Maddens Lawyers to participate in the class action. Registrants are seeking to recover compensation for a range of loss and damage that occurred as a result of the fire.

Mr Brendan Pendergast, Principal of Maddens Lawyers, said that ‘many businesses in the Coolaroo and Dallas areas were significantly impacted as they were forced to close their doors and cease trade for a number of days. He said the impact of the fire on businesses included ‘loss of income associated with forced closure periods, damage to equipment and stock associated with smoke, soot or ash infiltration and extensive cleaning costs.’

Mr Pendergast said that some businesses had reported losses in excess of $200,000.

Maddens Lawyers investigation into the cause of the fire, and SKM’s fire risk management practices is continuing however Mr Pendergast said that ‘initial inquiries indicate that control and risk management measures may have been inadequate.’

Businesses or individuals impacted by the fire should contact Maddens Lawyers on 1800 815 228 or email to register their details.

The fire continues to impact the surrounding area. Clean up work at the Recycling Plant is underway, and millions of litres of contaminated water from the Merlynston Creek has recently been drained as a result of environmental concerns.

The class action proceeding was filed in the Supreme Court on 21 July 2017. SKM Services Pty Ltd is due to file a defence in late September 2017.

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Media Contacts:

Brendan Pendergast, Partner, Maddens Lawyers: 0419 538 142
Sarah Sheehan, Communications Manager, Maddens Lawyers: 0401 904 570