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Multi-million dollar payout over contaminated land around RAAF bases



Thousands of landowners around Australia whose properties were contaminated by firefighting foam used on air force bases have secured a multi-million dollar payout.

The settlement was announced in the Federal Court today.

Parties reached an in-principle, binding agreement at the weekend for a sum of $132.7 million, covering about 30,000 landowners.

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The Commonwealth did not adequately prevent toxic chemicals in the foam from escaping and contaminating soil and groundwater, the suit alleged.

Today's agreement covers sites near Royal Australian Air Force bases at Richmond and Wagga Wagga in NSW, Bullsbrook in Western Australia, Darwin in the Northern Territory, Edinburgh in South Australia, Townsville in Queensland and Wodonga in Victoria.

The Department of Defence previously agreed to pay landholders in Katherine (NT), Oakey (Queensland) and Williamtown (NSW) in a 2020 settlement worth $212.5 million.

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Another case involving Wreck Bay Aboriginal Land Council has been adjourned to later in May for further mediation.

"If the case doesn't settle it's got to start," Justice Michael Lee said today.

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