Written on the 8 July 2014

A CLASS action has been filed on behalf of more than 4000 victims of the 2011 Queensland floods in the New South Wales Supreme Court.

The claim has been filed against Seqwater, Sunwater and the State of Queensland by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, funded by Bentham IMF.

It alleges there were repeated breaches made by flood engineers from 1 December 2010, without which Brisbane and Ipswich would not have flooded in January 2011.

According to the claim, these breaches meant huge volumes of water had to be released mid-January as a last resort to protect the structural integrity of Wivenhoe Dam.

Maurice Blackburn principal Damian Scattini says the case has the potential to change public perception considering the flood could be deemed preventable.

“Many people have been led to assume the flood was caused by unprecedented heavy rainfall in early January and that as a result, it could not be avoided – when that is simply wrong,” says Scattini.

“The claim filed paints a much starker picture, going back to as far as 1 December 2010, and outlining that for every day in December 2010 through until mid-January 2011 there was a flood emergency – where both dams were full, substantial heavy rain had already fallen and more rain was predicted.

“This continued until the engineers were left with no other option but to dump huge volumes of water at once in mid-January, leading to a flood event that should have been avoided.”

Bentham IMF director John Walker says the class action is a major step in “helping to right the wrongs” that impacted thousands of homes and businesses along the Brisbane River.

“Major cases like the floods class action play a critical role in providing access to justice for past damage and also help to ensure better standards of behaviour going forward to avoid future events,” says Walker.






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