Williamtown residents launch class action against Defence

Cain Gorfine
Cain Gorfine

WILLIAMTOWN residents living in the contamination “red zone” have launched a class action case against the Department of Defence.

Almost seven months after it was revealed that toxic chemicals produced from fire fighting foams used on the Williamtown RAAF Base had seeped into neighbouring properties, affected residents going under the banner of the Williamtown and Surrounds Resident’s Action Group have launched a compensation case against the department.

Residents have signed up law firm Gadens to prosecute the case, and group president Cain Gorfine announced told members on Thursday that it has “full conditional funding approval from IMF Bentham -Australia's oldest and one of the worlds largest litigation funders”.

“This support alone shows the strength of our case against the Department and our commitment to seeing this through for the residents, businesses and organisations who have been economically affected by Defence's actions,” he said.

“We have a full war chest behind us now and our solicitors, Gadens, have worked hard to negotiate the best possible terms for affected individuals.

The group will hold a public meeting on April 7 at the Stockton RSL Club, as it begins to sign up participants in the class action.

“It is crucial we get as many people as possible registering their interest in the class action,” Mr Gorfine said.

“Although we have no doubt we will reach the critical numbers needed in order to proceed, this is a vital step in the process of any class action.”

A spokesperson for Defence told the ABC it had not yet been contacted by plaintiffs in the case.

"Defence deals with legal claims for compensation in accordance with the Attorney-General's Legal Services Directions,” the spokesperson said.

"The circumstances of any claim may differ and each is assessed having regard to relevant issues, including liability and quantum."


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