A mega 20-week trial looks to be set down for the Oakey water contamination case. Pic Mark Calleja
A mega 20-week trial looks to be set down for the Oakey water contamination case. Pic Mark Calleja

Mega 20-week trial looms over Oakey contamination

OAKEY residents have one month to opt-in to a class action against the Department of Defence over the town's contaminated drinking water crisis.

More than 450 residents have already signed up to be part of the mass legal action against the Department after claims of government inaction relating to contaminated drinking water.

The residents claim tests revealed drinking water had been contaminated with firefighting foam, containing cancerous PFOA and PFOS chemicals, which were used by an army aviation centre at Oakey.

 

An investigation by the The Courier-Mail in 2016 resulted in the Federal Government announcing a $55 million assistance package for affected residents.

Shine Lawyers, who are acting for the residents, have previously said the package focused on studies, testing and counselling and was not designed to compensate residents.

They allege the contamination devalued homes, forced the closure of businesses and exposed residents to "fear and stress" over the unknown health impacts from the foam.

Kirsty Krause with her daughter Samantha and son Graham were affected by the contamination crisis. Pic Mark Calleja
Kirsty Krause with her daughter Samantha and son Graham were affected by the contamination crisis. Pic Mark Calleja

In a statement released by the law firm today, it was revealed the matter would be listed for a 20-week trial from August next year if court-ordered mediation set down to begin next month fails.

A spokeswoman for Shine Lawyers said a town hall meeting will be held at the Oakey RSL on Wednesday to update residents on the class action.

She said residents have one month to register to be part of the action before the case enters the mediation stage.

Imogen Jaeger, 8, was born with an unexplained hand defect. She has lived most of her life in Oakey. Photography David Kelly
Imogen Jaeger, 8, was born with an unexplained hand defect. She has lived most of her life in Oakey. Photography David Kelly

"In order to give as many people access to any potential settlement in mid-December, we're inviting people to join the action before this mediation date," a statement from Shine said.

"If you owned land within the period between 1977 and mid-2014, even if you have sold property you can join."