Shine Lawyers is continuing investigations into chemical contamination of soil and groundwater in and around the Bandiana Military Area. Shine Lawyers are investigating whether contamination is due to the use of firefighting chemicals by the Department of Defence containing per- and poly- fluoroalkyls (PFAS).
The potential class action would be on behalf of members of the Wodonga community who own, or have owned, residential or commercial property in the contaminated area. Shine Lawyers are investigating whether the contamination by PFAS has negatively impacted business and land values in Wodonga.
The Department of Defence are undertaking investigations to determine the extent of land and groundwater contamination from the use of PFAS chemicals in the Bandiana Military Area. For more information on the investigations, visit the Department of Defence website.
The Wodonga investigation follows the launch of a class action in Oakey by Shine Lawyers against the Department of Defence.
Please note the Wodonga investigation is not considering personal injury claims relating to exposure to PFAS contamination.
Am I eligible to join the class action?
The Department of Defence is currently undertaking long-term environmental investigations into the contamination of soil and groundwater in the Wodonga area. As part of this investigation, the Department of Defence has released a map identifying the investigation area. A copy of the investigation area map can be accessed on the website of the Department of Defence.
At present, to be eligible for the potential Class Action, your property or business must be located in or around the investigation area. The main categories of claimants that will be eligible to join are the following:
- Property owners within or around the investigation area; and
- Commercial businesses within or around the investigation area.
It may be that the eligibility criteria for the Class Action will change, depending on legal advice. If the criteria changes, we will let you know.
Who is Shine Lawyers' Class Action team?
Shine Lawyers' Class Action team includes some of the firm’s most experienced special counsel, solicitors and support staff, including law clerks and paralegals. The Wodonga investigation team includes:
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Common questions about Wodonga Contamination Class Action
This is a proposed class action against the Commonwealth of Australia, specifically the Department of Defence. If wider PFAS contamination is established, then it would be alleged that the Department of Defence negligently allowed firefighting foam to escape from the Bandiana Military Area. It will be alleged this foam contained chemicals that contaminated the soil and groundwater, subsequently impacting the value of surrounding properties and businesses.
The chemicals of concern include PFOS (Perfluorooctane Sulfonate), PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid, also known as C8) and PFHxS (Perfluorohexane Sulfonate). These chemicals are members of a group of chemicals known as per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances.
The Class Action is to be brought on behalf of property owners and businesses for diminution in land and/or business values as a result of the contamination.
At this stage, the Class Action will not involve claims for health issues (current or future) from exposure to PFAS contamination.
Currently, if the claim is unsuccessful Shine Lawyers and a litigation funder, if engaged, will become liable to pay any adverse costs on behalf of all claimants.
It costs nothing to join the class action.
As the action is still being investigated the calculation of legal fees in this matter is still progressing. It is expected if the proceedings are filed that legal fees will be paid in part, and disbursements in full, by a litigation funder.
The final legal costs will depend on the amount of work, and time, required to resolve the claim.
The compensation being sought as part of the Class Action will be damages for the diminution of the value of properties in, or around, Wodonga.
The Commonwealth of Australia has the power to compulsorily acquire property in certain situations, however, this is an issue completely separate to the Class Action. If your property is compulsory acquired for some reason it will not extinguish your rights to continue with the Class Action but may affect the value of your claim.
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