Homes in the town of Ipswich west of Brisbane are inundated by flood waters Jan. 12, 2011. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Homes in the town of Ipswich west of Brisbane are inundated by flood waters Jan. 12, 2011. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

LAWYERS: Real justice 'long way off' for 2011 flood victims

UPDATE 4PM: Maurice Blackburn Principal Lawyer Rebecca Gilsenan said justice is now a long way off for their clients, who have already waited long enough. 

"This long-running saga must be brought to an end, our clients have waited long enough.

"It has now been more than nine years since the Queensland floods and our clients want an end to the injustice they have suffered.

"The State Government said that it was the insurers' decision about whether to appeal. The State then called on the insurers for Seqwater and Sunwater not to appeal. Seqwater has confirmed it will appeal, while Sunwater is now entangled in new and separate litigation with insurers who want to deny coverage.

"These appeals and disputes mean that real justice is a long way off for our clients, who have won their case and deserve to be paid for what they lost when the dam operators flooded them.

"The only way to bring this to an end is for the State to step in with a whole-of-government approach."


UPDATE 10AM: SEQWATER has announced it will today formally advise the Supreme Court of New South Wales it intends to appeal the January 2011 class action judgment.

"The decision to appeal has not been taken lightly.  It has followed an extensive review of the judgment and consultation with its insurers," Seqwater CEO Neil Brennan said. 

"Seqwater will not be making any further comments while the appeal process is underway."

Sunwater also lodged an intention to appeal, but is yet to make a formal decision.

Former Ipswich councillor and flood class action claimant Paul Tully said today's announcement  was a despicable decision by "rapacious insurers". 

Mr Tully's family home was flooded in January 2011 along with 600 other homes at Goodna, the hardest-hit suburb in southeast Queensland. 

"Flood victims have endured nine long and tortuous years and this will add to their distress," he said. 

Paul Tully and Frank Beaumont.
Paul Tully and Frank Beaumont. Rob Williams

"These companies have tarnished the insurance industry even further.

"This could drag out another two years in the court of appeal and the high court of Australia. 

"These insurance companies are toying with people's lives and futures."

EARLIER: IPSWICH victims of the 2011 flood are anxiously awaiting the next move of Sunwater and Seqwater after both water authorities lodged a Notice of Intention to appeal on the class action judgment.

The New South Wales Supreme court ruled in December the State Government and the dam operators failed to manage its dams properly during the January 2011 flood disaster.

The court is set to further consider the case today.

Frank Beaumont
Frank Beaumont

While the State Government has not appealed the decision, both Sunwater and Seqwater lodged a notice of intention to appeal.

Goodna flood victim Frank Beaumont said he hoped they would choose not to go ahead with their appeal.

"I hope to think that Sunwater and Seqwater have had a good think about what their actions should be and that their actions should be not to appeal and give us some closure in allowing the flood victims to at least an itemised claim," he said.

"Just tell the court, 'okay we've been found guilty, we will take responsibility of the courts decision and we're not going to appeal as the state government stated they would not."

"We're living in poverty because of the fact it cost us so much of our money to rebuild, because not only did Seqwater, Sunwater and the state government fail to manage the water correctly. "

Both Seqwater and Sunwater said no formal decision had been made and they were reviewing the judgment and considering their options before the case is further considered by the courts today.