An Islamic college has been awarded more than $1 million after the school site it leased at a Sydney airport was found to be contaminated.
Noor Al Houda Islamic College successfully sued Bankstown Airport Limited (BAL) in the NSW Supreme Court over land it leased at the airport from 1994.
Justice Clifton Hoeben today awarded the school $1,094,430 in damages, finding the Federal Airports Corp (FAC) and subsequently the BAL owed the school a duty of care to disclose a report that the land was contaminated with sewage waste.
The land was originally leased from the FAC but was transferred to the BAL when it took control of the airport in 1998.
The school sued on the grounds that BAL was negligent and in breach of contract because it failed to inform them of 1994 Envirosciences Pty Ltd report which said the land was contaminated with sewage waste.
It relocated to an alternative site at Strathfield in January 2003 because of the report.
"The term which the plaintiffs sought to imply into the 1994 lease was that the leased premises were fit for the conduct of a school," Justice Hoeben said in his judgment.
"They said that the premises were not fit for a school due to soil contamination and that as a result they were entitled to sue for damages for breach of contract."
However, the judge said the $5.1 million the school was originally seeking in damages was "unrealistic" because the cost of moving was only an estimate.
"Those costs were estimates since at the date of the report the College had not yet moved," he said.
School principal Silma Ihram said she was thankful for the support of her community who helped the college pay for its legal bills.
"It's because of the community we represent that they've all hung together," he said.
"They've put their homes on the line. They've put their finances on the line."
Year 12 student Haneefa Buckley said she was relieved with the result but the fight had pulled the school community together.
"We've been through so much hardship," she said.
"The school's almost a family. We're so happy we've overcome this."