21 May 2015 –
Maddens Lawyers, a Victorian-based law firm that ran four successful Black Saturday bushfire class actions, today issued proceedings against civil construction firm Thies Pty Ltd in the Victorian Supreme Court in relation to the flood that swept through the Deception Bay/Redcliffs region earlier this month.
Yesterday (on 20 May) the firm launched another Queensland flood class action relating to the Callide Dam flood that affected residents of Biloela and Jambin in the Banana Shire. SunWater Limited is the named defendant in that action.
Maddens Lawyers Class Action Principal Brendan Pendergast said in both cases, the victims of the flooding were left to pick up the pieces left behind by a disaster that could have been either prevented or moderated had proper procedures and care been taken.
“In Deception Bay, locals are adamant that flooding in the area that was affected was never the issue it’s been since construction of the Moreton Bay Rail Link began,” he said.
“This meant residents suffered their second flood in eight weeks. Some of the residents hit by the 1 May flood were still displaced from the first event. Flooding like what has occurred has never happened before now – and we believe it’s due to these construction works.”
Maddens’ issuing of proceedings against Thies Pty Ltd, the company contracted to build the Moreton Bay Rail Link, followed a public meeting in Deception Bay less than two weeks ago.
Mr Pendergast said it was clear from this meeting that Deception Bay locals also believed the flow of local waterways had changed as a result of the train line works.
He said the Class Action would seek compensation for loss and damages inflicted by the flood, as well as the time residents had spent cleaning up once the flood dissipated.
Periodic community meetings would be scheduled to provide local residents with up to date advice and information and a chance to speak with Maddens personally about their options for compensation.
Maddens Lawyers has successfully secured millions of dollars in compensation for hundreds of victims of fires that burnt out communities across Victoria on Ash Wednesday in 1983 and Black Saturday on 7 February 2009 and is currently running class actions on behalf of victims of other recent fires and disasters.
Mr Pendergast invited flood victims to register with Maddens Lawyers, to ensure they were kept up to date on the firm’s investigations into the legal implications of the flood.
“Registering isn’t necessarily a commitment to take action – it is, however, an excellent way to remain informed about what is being looked in to, what information is coming to hand and what options are available in relation to litigation,” Mr Pendergast explained.
Mr Pendergast encouraged anyone who was interested in knowing what options they may have to contact Maddens by phoning the firm tollfree on 1800 815 228, or by going online to register at www.maddenslawyers.com.au.
20 May 2015 –
Maddens Lawyers has launched a class action on behalf of victims of a Queensland flood that this year damaged more than 200 properties in the rural towns of Biloela and Jambin, south of Rockhampton.
Maddens Lawyers, a firm that recovered millions in compensation for Black Saturday bushfire victims, today issued proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court against SunWater Limited, on behalf of property owners flooded when, on 20 February this year, rainfall associated with Cyclone Marcia forced the automatic opening of the spillway gates to Callide Dam outside Biloela, approximately 150kms south of Rockhampton, in Queensland’s Banana Shire.
The Callide Dam release sent a massive volume of water through the Biloela and Jambin communities, damaging as many as 200 homes and farming properties downstream.
Maddens Lawyers Class Action Principal Brendan Pendergast said extensive inquiries had led Maddens Lawyers to conclude the damage caused by the uncontrolled release could have been avoided – and that affected residents had a right to compensation.
“We’re of the belief the devastating impact of this flood could have been significantly reduced had the dam’s operators, SunWater, undertaken adequate precautionary releases before 20 February and earlier on that day.
“We know SunWater was aware of the pending weather conditions in the lead up to 20 February and that the Callide Dam was already close to capacity,” Mr Pendergast said.
“But despite this knowledge, no precautionary releases were authorised until it was too late.”
Mr Pendergast said the potential value of the class action – calculated by the value of the losses suffered by flood victims – was difficult to predict at this early stage. “The nature of the damage suffered means it’s tough to evaluate the true, collective cost of this flood right now, in these early days,” he said. “For example, there are several farming properties in the Jambin area that were affected; it could be years before these property owners know the full extent of the economic impact this flood had on their operations,” Mr Pendergast explained.
He said the Class Action would also seek compensation for time spent by residents cleaning up from the flood, and the physical inconvenience suffered by people who were displaced from their homes.
Mr Pendergast also explained that Queensland law prevented his firm issuing the Class Action in the state where the disaster occurred, leading to Maddens issuing today in Victoria. He added that this would not prevent Maddens meeting and working closely with the Queensland victims to ensure they remained well-informed of firm’s proceedings.
“We’ll be convening periodic community meetings in the Biloela/Jambin region to provide local residents with up to date advice and information and a chance to speak with us personally about their options for compensation.
“Quite simply, the residents of Biloela and Jambin have suffered losses that are not their fault. They are losses that would not have occurred had SunWater followed proper procedures. There is no reason these residents should sit back and simply accept the financial burden of recovering from this event.”
Mr Pendergast urged any residents or business owners keen to know the options available to Callide Dam flood victims to contact Maddens Lawyers toll free on 1800 139 290.