Wivenhoe Dam Brisbane byline Dean Saffron

Wivenhoe Dam, west of Brisbane, is currently central to a class action launched in New South Wales. Photo: Dean Saffron

Wronged Queenslanders will be given the power to launch class actions against the government and businesses in a move Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said would “rebalance the scales of justice back in favour of victims”.

Mr Bleijie said, under the state's current legislation and uniform civil procedure rules, it was “almost impossible” to launch a class action consisting of multiple plaintiffs in Queensland.

“If a group of Queenslanders feel that they have been wronged, why can't they launch legal action in their own state? I think that's a fair question to ask,” he said in a statement.

Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie.

Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie. Photo: Glenn Hunt

“Right now, they have to make claims in other states, like New South Wales and Victoria, which means they have to either watch from afar or spend even more money on travel. That doesn't seem right for people who are already potential victims.”

Legal firm Maurice Blackburn has had to file a class action against Seqwater, Sunwater and the state of Queensland – the operators of Wivenhoe Dam – over the devastating 2011 floods in the NSW Supreme Court.

A Maurice Blackburn spokesman said they were able to do that because the lead applicant in the class action was from NSW.

Maurice Blackburn class actions principal Damian Scattini welcomed the Attorney-General's comments and said Queenslanders had “long been in need” of a class actions regime.

“Class actions play an important role in providing access to justice and remedies for victims of wrongdoing who otherwise would have very limited options, and it is pleasing that the Queensland government has now also recognised the value of this efficient mechanism,” he said.

“We need to see the full details of what the government is proposing, however it's important that any new scheme in Queensland incorporates provisions of the current federal scheme, which has a proven track record in working to effectively run large group actions.”

Mr Scattini said his firm, which has secured more than $1 billion in class actions in the past 15 years, hoped to work with the state government to help formulate any changes.

Mr Bleijie said: “I am always happy to consider any suggestions that would make access to justice fairer and easier and I am consulting with the relevant bodies about what improvements can be made.”