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$22M PFAS settlement approved by court

02 July 2023

Class Actions

The Wreck Bay Aboriginal community has had a $22 million settlement for PFAS contamination approved by the Federal Court.

Justice Lee said in court today that the case raised important issues about how cultural loss should be measured by the courts.

His Honour said, “The most important thing coming out of the objections is how deeply the community feels about the contamination of the land and the spiritual and cultural damage it is said to have caused.”

Craig Allsopp, joint head of class actions who ran the claim said, “at all times, we have believed in the importance of bringing this claim to compensate residents for contamination of their land and cultural loss.”

In order to ensure that group members had the opportunity to provide their views on the settlement, Shine Lawyers arranged for a bus to transport Wreck Bay residents to court and had a team at Wreck Bay to help support residents who wanted to make submissions.

“While the majority have not objected to the settlement amount, there are group members who believe the claim is worth more.

“The court was moved by their submissions today, as were we. Justice Lee ultimately determined the settlement to be fair and reasonable, given the confines of the law.

“We'll continue to do all that we can to support our clients through this journey as we now look to distribute compensation fairly across group members.

“We'd like to re-emphasise to clients and the public that claims for personal injury can still be brought and this does not have to be the end of your fight for acknowledgment.”

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Shine Lawyers acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, waterways and community. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.

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