Bushfire class action dividing community


Bushfire class action dividing community

16 April 2013

published by www.au.news.yahoo.com


Australia — A class action for victims of the bushfires that killed nine people on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula in 2005 is dividing the community in Wangary.

Some victims want out of the class action, claiming Country Fire Service (CFS) volunteers who risked their lives are being persecuted.

Nine people, including two children, perished in the Eyre Peninsula’s Black Tuesday.

At a meeting in Wangary last night, those who lost property were told why they have automatically been included in a multi-million class action against the CFS, and the man whose vehicle started the blaze, Marco Visic.

Lawyers say 300 parties are on board, but some locals are opting out, saying it is time to move on.

Farmer and CFS volunteer Mark Modra lost $200,000 worth of stock and assets.

He wasn’t well insured but says joining the class action would be a vote of no confidence in his neighbours.

“While many people have lost much and have been hurt greatly by this fire, I think this class action is just going to prolong that and further divide it,” he said.

“CFS is made up of volunteers, it’s made up of people from our community.

“You are persecuting those people in your community who are acting on your behalf to try and do the best they can.”

Those who choose to opt out must notify the Supreme Court by early next month. If mediation fails, it is likely a trial will begin against Marco Visic later this year.

“Depending on the outcome of that, the possibility of a trial against the CFS sometime early in 2014,” lawyer Peter Humphries said.

The CFS is trying to have the action quashed.
 


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