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As you would be aware, following the Kilmore East bushfire in 2009, a Supreme Court class action was filed against SPI Electricity on behalf of the ‘group' or class of people affected by the fire.
The class action alleged that the fire was caused by SPI's negligent maintenance of its electricity assets. CFA was later joined as a defendant to the action, along with DSE, Victoria Police and a power line inspection company. Broadly, the claims against CFA were:
- the ‘suppression' case: alleging that CFA failed to suppress the fire; and
- the ‘warnings' case: alleging that CFA did not adequately warn the community.
I'm pleased to advise that the ‘suppression' case against CFA has now been dismissed. Today, with the consent of all parties, the Supreme Court dismissed this part of the case against CFA. We will continue to vigorously defend the warnings case.
We know that our firefighters did an outstanding job in the fierce conditions during the firefight in Kilmore East in 2009 and we are pleased to see that this has now been validated. We should not underestimate the magnitude of all parties now agreeing that suppression case would not succeed.
The trial is scheduled to begin on 4 March 2013. The initial stages of the proceeding will involve the parties presenting their opening submissions and then the plaintiff presenting her evidence. We expect that CFA will not present our evidence until later this year. This trial is expected to take some time to resolve.
You can find more information about the ongoing legal actions for the 2009 fires here on the CFA intranet and Brigades Online. We will keep you updated on all 2009 fires legal proceedings as each matter progresses.