Posted on 21 Feb 2014
Former child migrants who suffered alleged abuse at Fairbridge Farm School between 1938 and 1974 can now pursue the first class action of its kind against the Commonwealth, the State of New South Wales and the Fairbridge Foundation after a Supreme Court judgment today.
The class action, believed to be the first against an Australian government that involves child migration, commenced in December 2009. It was filed on behalf of more than 60 former residents, alleging physical or sexual abuse whilst living at Fairbridge Farm School in Molong.
The former residents are seeking compensation for injuries suffered at the notorious Fairbridge Farm School at Molong in the central west of NSW, claiming the Foundation and the two governments allowed a system of institutional abuse to develop and persist at the Molong Farm School over many decades.
Slater and Gordon class action lawyer Roop Sandhu said today’s ruling was a victory for the former residents because it allows the class action to proceed.
Mr Sandhu said it was the time to discuss a resolution with the defendant.
“The defendants can stop this ongoing court action and acknowledge the suffering and pain of these people,” Mr Sandhu said.
“The State and Federal Governments have the power to end this tomorrow – the former Fairbridge residents were children in their care.”
Former Fairbridge resident and group advocate, David Hill, welcomed today’s judgement and said it was a positive step towards seeking justice.
“As these people get older, it is becoming more critical for a resolution to be determined,” Mr Hill said.
“They have gone through enough and they are all just hopeful for a resolution sooner rather than later.”