LETTERS: Class action issue is causing delays

I REFER to your article dated October 6 and headlined, "Flood class action trial more than a year away".

The January 2011 flood event was one of the most damaging and extreme weather events ever experienced by our region.

Seqwater remains acutely aware of the impact of the event for so many in our community.

It is important not to lose sight of the magnitude and rarity of the January 2011 event.

It was the one of largest flood events that south-east Queensland experienced in the past 100 years.

Two major rain events occurred across Wivenhoe and Somerset dams and catchments less than 30 hours apart which resulted in two significant inflows to our dams, both equivalent to the peak of the 1974 flood.

Seqwater has never wavered from its belief that our flood engineers did an extraordinary job in the most difficult and demanding of circumstances.

It is also important to note that the Commission of Inquiry into the 2011 event in no way concluded there was any negligence in Seqwater's management of the event or decisions and actions undertaken by our engineers. Seqwater's defence in the class action strongly supports this view.

Last month the NSW Supreme Court postponed the trial date for the January 2011 flood class action following a request from class action lawyers Maurice Blackburn.

Maurice Blackburn has still not provided all of its hydraulic evidence to demonstrate that losses suffered by people were the result of Seqwater not operating Wivenhoe Dam as they say it should have, despite advising the court in August 2014 that the hydraulic study was being finalised.

The Court originally set the trial date for July 2016.

Justice Beech-Jones declined to set a new trial date until a range of issues were resolved, including dealing with Maurice Blackburn's hydraulics evidence.

This postponement is significant and demonstrates the class action evidence is still to be finalised nearly five years after the event.

Seqwater can understand those in the community involved in the class action will be disappointed by the delay.

Seqwater is confident its management of the event will continue to be shown to have significantly reduced the impact of the flood as the matter progresses through the Court.

MIKE FOSTER, Seqwater external relations

 

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