Oakey residents secure class-action funding

BREAKING: Oakey landholders considering a large-scale class action lawsuit against the Department of Defence have secured financial backing to proceed.

Australia's largest litigation funder IMF Bentham Limited will fund the Oakey Contamination Class Action on the condition enough people sign on.

Shine Lawyers, representing hundreds of Oakey residents seeking compensation for contaminated groundwater supplies, said the announcement marked a major milestone in the suit.

The funding will cover counsel fees, experts' fees and out-of-pocket expenses of the potential litigants, and indemnify the group against liability for the Defence Department's legal costs should the suit fail.

Shine Lawyers principal Peter Shannon, leading the lawsuit, said the agreement would allow the claim to proceed.

"It is extremely disappointing that two years of negotiation and a direct recommendation of a Senate inquiry to compensate the affected people of Oakey have been treated with such callous disregard by the Commonwealth," Mr Shannon said.

"They haven't even apologised for what has occurred.

"Without IMF there would be no hope of recourse for completely innocent people who are suffering dreadfully from the direct action of our own government."

Residents that sign on to the class action will allege prolonged use of firefighting foams at the Oakey Army Aviation Centre leeched PFOS and PFOA chemicals into groundwater supplies, the result of which has seen some residents' blood tests to record levels up to 44 times the national average.

"This agreement will ensure 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 failures that have inflicted significant harm on them and their communities," Mr Shannon said.

Mr Shannon said the most of the associated legal costs would be covered by IMF, with Shine carrying the remainder.

He said costs would only be recovered in the event of a successful outcome.


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