Oakey Class Action to go ahead with funding secured
17 March 2017: Shine Lawyers has today announced that a class action brought against the Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Defence) in connection with land contamination will go ahead, with litigation funder IMF Bentham Limited (IMF) electing to unconditionally fund the litigation.
IMF, one of Australia’s largest litigation funders, agreed to conditionally fund the action in October 2016, subject to a critical mass of residents joining the class. The funder has confirmed that these conditions have been satisfied and it will now be funding Shine Lawyers to pursue claims for compensation against the Department of Defence.
The action will be brought on behalf of a considerable number of Oakey residents affected by contamination alleged to have arisen from the use of firefighting foams containing PFOS and PFOA chemicals at an army base in the rural Queensland community.
The owners of more than 350 properties and businesses have signed up to be part of the class action, which will seek compensation for the diminution in property and business values, as a result of the contamination.
Shine Lawyers Principals Peter Shannon and Joshua Aylward are leading the action. Mr Shannon said the announcement would see proceedings commenced imminently.
“This development paves the way for action to commence and we will now be working with Counsel to finalise proceedings, with a view to filing the action as soon as possible,” Mr Shannon said.
“It is disappointing that our extensive efforts to avoid litigation and deal with this by negotiation have been unfruitful. It is clear that the only way residents will be able to access justice is through the courts,” he said.
This action will ensure that Oakey residents whose property values and businesses have been directly impacted by this contamination can access justice and seek to hold Defence to account for the significant harm inflicted on them and their communities.
“This agreement will provide the security and backing residents need in their fight for fair compensation and will enable us to carry a case of this magnitude through the courts.”
Mr Shannon confirmed that the firm had received numerous inquiries from other communities affected by contamination related to PFOS and PFOA use at military bases across the country.
Property and business owners in Oakey can still join the class action by signing up at www.imf.com.au.