Murphy Operator Pty Ltd and two other plaintiffs have commenced a class action against Gladstone Ports Corporation Ltd (GPC) for loss and damage alleged to have arisen from GPC's Gladstone Port expansion project in 2011 and 2012. The action is also commenced on behalf of persons who fit within the definition 'group member', namely certain persons, companies or partnerships engaged in commercial fishing in an area defined as the 'Affected Waters', or fish handling and processing, and wholesale fishing businesses reliant on such catch.
Background to the class action
Clyde & Co are acting for Murphy Operator Pty Ltd, Tobari Pty Ltd and SPW Ventures Pty Ltd (the plaintiffs) who have brought a class action against the Gladstone Ports Corporation Limited (the defendant) (GPC) in connection with GPC's handling of the Gladstone Port "expansion" project in 2011 and 2012.
The plaintiffs allege that:
From early September 2011, GPC excavated spoil during harbour-dredging operations and stored the spoil in a reclamation area behind a "bund" wall, in circumstances where GPC knew or ought to have known that the bund wall was not adequate to stop the spoil from escaping back in to the harbour waters;
The spoil escaped and contaminated the waters in the harbour, and also waters in a wide geographic area;
The contamination caused harm to commercial fish stocks across an area extending from north of Gladstone up to in the vicinity of Yeppoon, to south of Fraser Island down to Bribie Island (the Affected Waters); and
The loss of and decreased value of commercial fish stocks caused financial loss to the plaintiffs and the group members (together the "claim group").
The plaintiffs also make claims under the legal heading of “public nuisance”, alleging that GPC’s conduct caused an unreasonable interference in the claim group’s enjoyment of their public rights to fish in the Affected Waters, which has caused damage including a lost chance to process fish caught in the Affected Waters.
The defendant, GPC, denies the plaintiffs’ allegations and is defending the class action.
This class action is being funded by commercial litigation funder, LCM Operations Pty Ltd (LCM).
Please see the Key Documents section below for recent publications, and the Funding Challenge Notice to Group Members.