News State Victoria News Victorian bushfire class action against Powercor settled

Victorian bushfire class action against Powercor settled

David Gilmour surveys the damage on his Terang farm after the fires in March last year. Photo: ABC
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A $3 million class action against Powercor and its contractor over a St Patrick’s Day bushfire that destroyed dozens of Victorian homes has been settled.

The fires swept through Terang in Victoria’s southwest on March 17 last year, burning more than 4000 hectares and causing significant damage to homes and farms.

A class action against Powercor Australia and its pole inspection contractor, Electrix Pty Ltd, was due to begin in the Victorian Supreme Court next month, involving 40 affected residents, land owners and businesses claiming more than $3 million in damages.

However, Maddens Lawyers said on Friday a confidential settlement has been reached with the defendants.

Powercor was charged by Energy Safe Victoria over the Terang and Garvoc electricity asset failures and subsequent fires, following a complex investigation.

The fire sparked from clashing conductors, and the nearby Garvoc fire ignited with a broken power pole.

A significant amount of property and livestock was lost, as the state government declared a state emergency.

“We’re pleased to be able to achieve a positive result for local farmers and the Garvoc community who we know are continuing to feel the impacts of the 2018 St Patrick’s Day fire to this day,” Maddens Lawyers class action principal Kathryn Emeny said in a statement.

The settlement is subject to Supreme Court approval.