State challenges bushfire action

State challenges bushfire action

9 December 2008

published by

Australia — The state of NSW is challenging in the High Court a decision that allows Brindabella land owner Wayne West to sue the NSW Government for property losses suffered in the 2003 bushfires.

Counsel for NSW Christopher Erskine, SC, told the High Court his client wanted the matter dealt with quickly because it could impact on a ”major trial” next year.

Multiple parties in a separate action are also seeking compensation through the ACT Supreme Court for property loss and personal injury suffered in the fires almost six years ago.

That action is due to be mentioned in the Supreme Court today.

The ACT Court of Appeal upheld in September a ruling by Justice Terry Connolly last year that cleared the way for Mr West and his wife Lesley to seek damages from NSW as a result of property losses they suffered in the January 2003 bushfires.

The Wests contend officers of the NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service were negligent by choosing not to directly attack the McIntyre’s Hut fire after it was ignited by lightning in the Brindabella National Park on January 8, 2003.

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