Landowners affected by bushfires in Victoria earlier this year have launched a $50 million class action against AustNet Electricity Services.
The fires in the Mickleham-Kilmore area destroyed stock, homes and farmland in hot and windy conditions on February 9.
Lawyers will argue the fire started from a “clearly visible hazard” in a gum tree, when branches fell on powerlines along Mickleham Road.
The fire started when the tree branch brought together high-voltage conductors.
The blaze spread over 22,900 hectares of land north of Kilmore, destroyed over 20 homes and more than 2,000 kilometres of fencing, and killed more than 14,000 sheep and hundreds of cattle.
Lawyer Brendan Pendergast said the case had been lodged in the Victorian Supreme Court against AustNet Electricity Services on behalf of 300 property owners from Mickleham, Darraweit Guim, Chintin and Kilmore regions.
“Quite simply, the residents of this area have suffered losses that are not their fault,” Mr Pendergast said.
“There is no reason these residents should sit back and just accept that this fire occurred and accept the damage that it did whilst incurring the substantial expense associated with re-establishing their properties.”