Opal Tower owners sue the NSW government

Opal Tower owners sue the NSW government
Staff reporterDecember 7, 2020

Owners of units in Sydney’s beleaguered Opal Tower have lodged a class-action lawsuit against the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, which owns the land on which the complex was built.

The action was filed in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday led by owner Terry Williamson.

Lawyers for the owners have filed documents against the NSW government and Sydney Olympic Park Authority, claiming the building was not designed and constructed with due care and skill, and was not reasonably fit for occupation. 

The newly-built block in Sydney Olympic Park was evacuated on Christmas Eve after cracks were discovered in the building that briefly sparked fears it could collapse.

Owner investors are looking to claim lost rental income they can't claim from builder Icon due to a waiver that would forfeit their right to sue.

Dcuments lodged to the NSW Supreme Court by Corrs Chambers Westgarth seek access to designs and contracts relating to the design of Opal Tower.

Gladys Berejiklian has defended the right of owners to sue her government.

“I don’t blame anybody for taking legal action to defend their own rights,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian noted it was "an unfortunate set of circumstances."

"We inherited the system we have today and we’re aiming to fix it by the end of the year through legislation.”

Ms Berejiklian said the government will be announcing a new building commissioner “imminently” to oversee the problem-plagued construction industry.

“(The commissioner) will ensure moving forward that everybody in the industry not only is aware of their responsibilities, but delivers on those responsibilities to the nth degree,” she said.

In an update to residents in mid-July, the tower’s builder, Icon, said site works have been “progressing well” and structural works should be completed by the end of the month.

Residents of a further 40 apartments in Opal Tower are set to be allowed to return to their units on Friday after inspections are carried out.

The NSW government's reform plans for the state's building and construction industry are not enough to fix it, industry group, The Owners Corporation Network (OCN) submission to the government says.

"Good buildings are now going to be under suspicion until people satisfy themselves they are not defective. This is a GFC-style situation, where credit ratings and the risk for financial products came into question. In that case loss of confidence in the financial system became a contagion," the report states.

"The NSW government needs to step into the breach just as it did when HIH and FAI Insurance collapsed in March 2001."


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