1. Why is this notice important?
This class action proceeding has been commenced in the Federal Court of Australia
by Gwen Dallis Barker ("Barker") against Santos Limited ("Santos").
If you are a Wongkumara person who has at any time acted as a casual CHO on
projects conducted by Santos Limited, you should read this notice carefully.
This notice contains important information about:
(a) The class action against Santos Limited. Section 2 below explains what a
class action is. Section 3 explains what this class action is about. Section 4
explains how to tell whether you are a group member represented in the class
action ("Group Member"). Section 5 below explains who will be paying for the
(b) Your rights to "opt out" of the class action. Section 6 below explains what
opting out means. Section 7 below explains how you can opt out of this class
Barker and Santos have agreed to settle this class action on terms which are at
this stage confidential, save that the Court has said that the settlement will
mean that Group Members will be entitled to make individual claims for payment
as described in further notices to be issued at a later date.
The Federal Court has ordered that this notice be published. Any questions you
have concerning the matters contained in this notice should not be directed to
the Court. If there is anything in this notice that you do not understand, you
should seek legal advice.
2. What is a class action?
A class action is a legal proceeding that is brought by an Applicant on their own
behalf and on behalf of a group of other people against certain respondents. The
Applicant and members of the group of other people must have similar claims
against the respondents.
Group members are bound by any judgment or settlement in the class action unless
they have opted out of the proceeding. This means that unless
you opt out:
(a) You may be able to participate in any settlement process and receive any
settlement payments provided for if the proceeding is settled, or share in any
Court-awarded damages if the class action is successful;
(b) You will be bound by the dismissal of the case if the class action fails; and
(c) You will not be able to sue about the matters that are the subject of the
class action in separate legal proceedings.
3. What is this class action?
This class action concerns members of the Wongkumara People who have served as
casual Cultural Heritage Monitors ("CHOs") between about 2010 and 2019, on
certain projects conducted by Santos in various locations in Queensland or New
Under the Cultural Heritage Management Plan ("CHMP") and Ancillary Agreement
entered in 2010 (and amended in 2015) between Santos and certain endorsed
parties on behalf of the Wongkumara People, persons acting as casual CHOs may
have been entitled to be paid sums by way of travel allowance in addition to
their ordinary daily pay for cultural heritage monitoring work.
In this class action, Barker alleges that she and other Wongkumara persons were
employed by one of four companies (Interactive Community Planning Pty Ltd, Ochre
Cultural Heritage Management Pty Ltd, Sandlewood Aboriginal Project Ltd and
Ochre Community Consulting Pty Ltd) to act as casual CHOs for Santos, but were
not paid the travel allowance amounts to which they were to be entitled under
the CHMP and Ancillary Agreement.
Barker further alleges that Santos misled those companies by failing to advise
them that casual CHOs were entitled to travel allowance amounts if they were
"travelling more than two hours (one way) from home location to Brisbane". That
is alleged to have constituted misleading and deceptive conduct under s 18 of
the Australian Consumer Law (Cth), by which conduct Barker and other casual CHOs
suffered loss (being the amount of the travel allowance to which they were
entitled but were not paid).
Barker further alleges that Santos made certain promises, to the effect that
travel allowance would be paid in accordance with the terms of the Ancillary
Agreement, which were and are enforceable by casual CHOs as third party
beneficiaries under section 55 of the Property Law Act 1974 (Qld).
Santos has not filed a Defence in the proceeding.
4. Are you a group member?
You are a group member in this class action if:
(a) you were employed or contracted by any of:
(i) Interactive Community Planning Pty Ltd;
(ii) Ochre Cultural Heritage Management Pty Ltd;
(iii) Sandlewood Aboriginal Project Ltd;
(iv) Ochre Community Consulting Pty Ltd
as a Cultural Heritage Officer, for the purpose of conducting cultural heritage
surveys and/or assessing whether cultural heritage clearance should be granted
to Santos Limited for the undertaking of certain works pursuant to the
Wongkumara Cultural Heritage Management Plan and Ancillary Agreement; and
(b) you conducted such works as a casual Cultural Heritage Officer between the
dates of 20 August 2010 and 8 April 2019; and
(c) to perform such works, you were "travelling more than two hours (one way)
from home location to Brisbane"; and
(d) for any of these field placements, the pay you received did not include pay
for an additional two days' work, to compensate you for having to embark on such
If you are unsure whether you are a group member, you should contact Eddy Neumann
Lawyers on 02 9264 9933 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or seek your own legal
advice without delay.
5. The costs of the class action
The parties and the Court have not yet determined who will pay the costs of the
class action. The parties remain in negotiation, but if there is no agreement
between the parties then the Court will determine the question of costs at the
same time as it determines whether to approve the settlement of the class
However, group members are not individually responsible for the legal costs of
the class action. Only the Applicant or Santos (or both) will be responsible for
6. What does "Opt Out" mean?
The Applicant in a class action does not need to seek the consent of group
members to commence a class action on their behalf or to identify a specific
group member. However, group members can cease to be group members by opting out
of the class action. An explanation of how group members are able to opt out is
found just below.
7. How can you opt out of the class action and what will happen if you
If you opt out:
(a) You will be at liberty to bring your own claim against Santos, provided that
you issue Court proceedings within the time limit applicable to your claim. If
you wish to bring your own claim, you should seek your own legal advice about
your claim and the legal costs involved and the applicable time limit prior to
(b) You will not be bound by, or entitled to share in any benefit of, any order,
judgment or settlement in the class action.
If you do not wish to remain a group member you must opt out of
the class action.
If you wish to opt out of the class action, you
must do so by completing a "Notice of opting out by group
member" in the form attached to this notice and marked "A", then returning it to
the New South Wales District Registry of the Federal Court of Australia by email
at email@example.com. IMPORTANT: the notice you send must
reach the Registry by no later than 4pm on 12 May 2020, otherwise it will not be
Each group member seeking to opt out should fill out a separate form.
You are totally free to make up your own mind whether to give an opt-out notice
or do nothing. You can also take advice about your options and the information
contained in this Notice. Further information can be obtained by contacting Eddy
Neumann Lawyers as set out above or any other lawyer of your choosing.
In deciding whether or not to opt out of the class action, you should know that
the main terms of the proposed settlement are that:
(a) Group members will be entitled to make a claim individually to a nominated
Settlement Scheme Administrator (who will be appointed by the Court) who will
evaluate each individual claim.
(b) If the Administrator is satisfied that the person is a group member who was
not paid travel allowance to which they were entitled, Santos will pay an amount
equal to the travel allowance that was not paid.
(c) If the individual claimant is dissatisfied with the Administrator's decision,
they may seek a review of the decision by an independent Queen's Counsel or
Senior Counsel agreed upon by the parties.
If you decide to remain a group member then you should NOT complete the form
which is annexed and marked "A" and headed "OPT OUT NOTICE".
If you oppose the proposed settlement and wish to express your opposition so that
the Court may take it into account, you should contact Eddy Neumann Lawyers on
02 9264 9933 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You should ensure that you do
so by no later than 4pm on 12 May 2020.
If you wish to obtain copies of relevant documents, including the originating
application and statement of claim in the class action, you can do so by
contacting Eddy Neumann Lawyers on 02 9264 9933 or by email at
email@example.com, or by contacting a District Registry of the Federal Court
(see http://www.fedcourt.gov.au) and paying the appropriate inspection fee, or
by inspecting the documents that are available for free on the Commonwealth
Courts Portal at http://www.comcourts.gov.au/file/Federal/P/NSD520/2019/actions.
Please consider the above matters carefully and, if there is anything of which
you are unsure, contact one of the persons whose contact details are set out
earlier in this Notice. You should not delay in making your decision.
Opt out notice
No. NSD520 of 2019
Federal Court of Australia
District Registry: New South Wales
Gwen Dallis Barker in her own right and in her representative
Federal Court of Australia
New South Wales District Registry
Law Courts Building
184 Phillip Street
Sydney NSW 2000
______________[name], a group member in this representative proceeding, gives
notice under section 33J of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976, that
______________[name] is opting out of the representative proceeding.