M09 public liability: Residents and businesses kept in the dark about dangerous landfill underneath their land

Date: Mar 06, 2020

Many residents and business owners in Melbourne are planning on taking legal action or filing compensation claims as they recently discovered that their health is at risk after being kept in the dark about dangerous gases located beneath their estates.

According to 7News, over 80 properties have been built on top of the old Sunshine Landfills, which were closed in the 1990s. Gases are leaking out of the old landfill, spreading potential toxicity into the environment surrounding these estates. A report in 2013 found that the gases are a high risk to those living and working nearby. The Brimbank City Council did not tell any of the residents, workers or the general public about the dangers.

When broken down, the affected properties are comprised of up to 69 homes, six businesses and 5 community groups, 7News noted. These businesses and residents have been living above the old landfill for years with little to no knowledge about the dangerous situation.

City Council and EPA had been aware of the dangers

Both the council and the EPA had been aware of the dangerous issue for quite some time. In 1989, a test confirmed that there was a potential risk to residents due to exposure to toxic waste, according to The Age. This test was done when a housing estate was being built above the old landfill, and despite the test results, the house was controversially built.

The council approved the construction of the houses on this land even though they were fully aware of the contaminated land. It was found to be full of arsenic and other heavy metals, and The Age reported that the council told the developer to simply move the housing foundations a few metres away from the waste pit.

Although no longer actively operated, the landfill was used frequently in the 1960s up through the 1990s. It was utilised as a spot to dump large amounts of chemical and radioactive waste, along with industrial and household rubbish. All of this led to dangerous gases seeping out into the environment surrounding it.

With the EPA and the council keeping both past and current residents and businesses in the dark about the situation, the question of public liability comes into play. The public was not aware of the potential risks that they were (and are) exposed to. This gives them the opportunity to file compensation claims and take legal action.

The team at Gerard Malouf & Partners is ready to help with all of your public liability claims. If you feel that you have been wronged as a result of government negligence, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact us today.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.