A report released last week by the Victorian Ombudsman "vindicates" the class action being brought by residents of Brookland Greens against the City of Casey, according to Slater & Gordon lawyer Ben Hardwick.
In November last year, Slater & Gordon launched a class action on behalf of nearly 600 residents of Brookland Greens against the City of Casey, located south-east of Melbourne, in relation to incidents of methane gas leaking from landfill into the estate.
Last week, Victorian Ombudsman George Brouwer released a report criticising the City of Casey and the Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) for their handling of the matter. Hardwick said the report "vindicates residents in their quest for justice, and concludes that they should be compensated through the class action."
"The Ombudsman has found that in respect to this landfill, the EPA has failed the environment, and catalogues a litany of bureaucratic bungling, mismanagement and blame-shifting," he said.
In his report, Brouwer stated: "Ultimately, the issue of compensation will be considered by the courts through the class action on behalf of affected residents. Nonetheless it is clear to me that the local community has endured considerable anxiety, distress and inconvenience as a result of methane gas leaking from the landfill into the estate and the way that some government agencies handled this issue. On this basis, affected residents should be compensated accordingly."
Hardwick called on the City of Casey and the EPA to agree to attempt to resolve the matter through mediation.
"Now that the Ombudsman has made his findings, the next step is to fix the problem," he said. "Rather than protracted and expensive legal action through the courts, the City of Casey should sit down and talk with us."
- Zoe Lyon