Famous environmental campaigner Erin Brockovich has welcomed the settlement of a PFAS class action with Defence.
"This victory belongs to the people of Katherine, Oakey, and Williamtown who had the courage to rise up and fight for their communities," Ms Brockovich said today.
"I know better than most how gruelling and time-consuming class actions can be so I want to congratulate residents for never giving up hope.
"I'm sure there were times you felt nobody was listening but this settlement is both an acknowledgement of your struggle and a chance to turn the page on this difficult chapter in your lives."
Katherine's class action was taken on by Shine Lawyers which is supported by Ms Brockovich.
The law firm's class action practice leader Joshua Aylward today said he was proud a confidential in-principle agreement has been reached in our PFAS Contamination Class Actions against Defence.
"The people of Oakey and Katherine have been living in limbo for more than five years," Mr Aylward said.
"We're pleased to have achieved this outcome for these communities, and to have helped affected property owners to move forward with their lives.
"This settlement will go some way to financially compensate them for the extensive property value losses they've experienced and for the stress which they have been under."
"This is a significant milestone for the thousands affected across both Queensland's Oakey community and the Territory's Katherine residents."
Mr Aylward said the next steps were to seek approval from Justice Lee on the terms of the settlement.
"From there we will also determine the method by which the settlement will be distributed."
Mr Aylward said clients were thrilled to finally feel heard in what has been a five year long wait for justice.
"Imagine moving into your dream home, where you plan to raise your family, only to find out that that same home is potentially exposing your kids to toxic chemicals.
"This has been a hard, emotional and financial battle for many of our clients."
Dentons Lawyers have represented Williamtown residents in the class action.
Dentons partner Ben Allen today said the announcement today of an in-principle agreement does not mark an end to the battle for this "forever chemical" to be cleaned up in Australia and for the Government to take full accountability.
"The comments from the Australian Government today when announcing the terms of settlement are encouraging," Mr Allen said.
"They show that the Government will now take their responsibilities seriously and are committed to engaging with those impacted by PFAS contamination in Australia."
The parties are in the process of finalising the terms of the settlement.
"These terms are confidential and are subject to formal consideration and approval by the Federal Court of Australia," a joint-statement issued by Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester said.
"The parties will inform the Federal Court of Australia that an in-principle agreement has been reached at the first available opportunity."
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