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World

$520m Black Saturday payout

December 23, 2014 5:12 pm

Victoria’s Supreme Court has approved a class action settlement of $520 million stemming from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

It is considered to be the biggest class action in Australia’s legal history.

The fires killed 173 people and destroyed more than 1000 homes.

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The action, involving about 5000 people, was taken against power distributor SP AusNet, and asset managers Utility Services Group, both of which denied liability, the ABC reported.

The case came about after the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission found the Kilmore East-Kinglake bushfire was caused by an ageing SP AusNet power line.

The parties had already agreed to the settlement but it required the court’s approval.

In his summary, Supreme Court Justice Robert Osborn said the decision to approve the settlement was taken, in part, because it would result in substantial compensation for group members.

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