A LARGE group of Tasmanian farmers with failed timber company Gunns' plantation trees on their land have filed a class action against Macquarie Bank for damages for misleading them.
The group includes 110 of the more than 400 landowners across the state who have Gunns' managed investment scheme trees on their farms.
They are the landowners who signed up with Macquarie to become the new responsible entity or manager of the Gunns schemes after the Tasmanian company went into liquidation.
After two Victoria Supreme Court cases, the farmers say that Macquarie Forestry Services' case for them signing up with them was misleading and deceptive.
The class action, filed in the Melbourne Federal Court, on Tuesday, calls for several declarations that acknowledge Macquarie misled and deceived the farmers into signing with them as the new tree plantation scheme managers and that those agreements are now ineffectual and unenforceable.
It also asks for appropriate financial compensation for the farmers.The farmers are among those who have not received lease payments for the plantations on their land for up to three years.
Many are also concerned that there has been no maintenance or fire protection work carried out in the plantations.Gunns receivers and managers KordaMentha have offered to get crews still employed to maintain plantations on the company's own land to carry out the same sort of work on the private holdings until they sold.
But it is understand that the receivers and managers won't take on the 110 that were temporarily involved with Macquarie Forestry Services until those agreements have been dissolved.
A representative from the Melbourne-based legal team that the class action farmers have retained will be at two Tasmanian meetings in Hobart and Launceston this week organised by KordaMentha to further explain the reasons and expected outcomes from the legal action.