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‘Disgust’ at Australian Defence foam settlement

PFAS was once used in firefighting foam at the Defence bases in the three communities.

The action involves about 400 residents in Williamtown, north of Newcastle, about 500 in the Queensland town of Oakey, and thousands in Katherine in the Northern Territory.

The lawyers and Defence Department agreed to the settlement in February, but a Federal Court judge is yet to decide whether it is fair.

Class action members unhappy about the settlement can email the court by May 7 ahead of a two-day hearing starting on June 4.

Mr Rosewarne says he will ask Judge Michael Lee to send the in-principle agreement back to the table to “get a more responsible figure”.

“The damage done to my property by Defence is more than is being offered,” he said.

Mr Rosewarne says class actions are necessary because of the costs of taking legal action.

“But I am not going to be bullied to accept less than what the damage is worth,” he said.

Oakey resident Dianne Priddle says she is unhappy about the “astronomical profit” made by the funders.

“I feel like the lawyers and funder are in the business of PFAS – it’s not about the people,” she said.

In the meantime Mrs Priddle’s farmland is still contaminated.

“Nobody will buy our property, not in a year, not in 10 years, not in a hundred years,” she says.

In April, law firm Shine Lawyers – which represent the Oakey and Katherine residents – launched another class action on behalf of more than 40,000 Australians who allege their land and water supplies have been contaminated by PFAS chemicals used in military bases.

The action involves residents of Wagga Wagga and Richmond in NSW, Wodonga in Victoria, Darwin in the Northern Territory, Townsville in Queensland, Edinburgh in South Australia and Bullsbrook in Western Australia.


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