Black Saturday bushfire payout biggest in our history

VICTORIA'S Supreme Court has approved a $494 million payout to victims of the deadly 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, in what is considered to be the biggest class action in Australia's legal history.

The blaze killed 119 people, destroyed 125,000 hectares and more than 1,000 homes.

The action involves about 5,000 people and was taken against power distributor SP AusNet, and asset managers Utility Services Group. The defendants have denied liability.

The case came about after the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission found the Kilmore East-Kinglake bushfire was caused by an ageing SP AusNet power line.

Parties including SP AusNet and the Victorian Government had agreed to the $500 million settlement but it required the court's approval.

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