Powercor seeks to shut down gazette st patrick’s day bushfire class action
Powercor has filed an application to dismiss the Supreme Court action relating to the Gazette bushfire that took place on St Patrick’s Day this year. The application will be heard by Justice
John Dixon in the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne tomorrow.
The Gazette bushfire was caused by a Eucalyptus tree falling onto a powerline that ran through a Blue Gum Plantation, causing the ignition of nearby vegetation. The cause of the fire is admitted by Powercor.
Powercor is arguing that the plaintiffs’ action has no real prospect of success and should be dismissed by the Court prior to any hearing. Powercor claims it owes no duty to group members beyond the statutory clearance zones. It argues that it is not required to meet the general common law duties, which apply to members of the community.
Maddens Lawyers, Senior Class Action Principal, Brendan Pendergast said that the plaintiffs intend to vigorously oppose this application. If Powercor’s application is successful, victims of the Gazette fire will be unable to claim loss and damage in the courts.
“The people impacted by the Gazette fire have the right to have their action heard in our Supreme Court, and we will oppose Powercor’s application in no uncertain terms.
“The Gazette fire occurred within a controlled environment, that being a commercial plantation. The trees near the powerline had grown to a height at which if one failed it presented a significant risk in making contact with a live conductor, and causing a fire. This could have been avoided,” Mr Pendergast said.
Justice John Dixon will tomorrow make directions for all four St Patrick’s Day fires, which will include timetabling orders for advancing each matter to a trial.
Brendan Pendergast, Senior Principal, Maddens Lawyers: 0439 385 349
Sarah Sheehan, Communications Manager, Maddens Lawyers: 0401 904 570