Father: "I don't want Jason's death... to be for nothing"
MICHAEL Garrels is "relieved" the Victims' Families' Forums he's fought for will finally happen.
"I think it will turn out to be on of the best reforms any government has made for quite a while," he said.
It marks a bittersweet triumph for Michael and his wife Lee because it comes at the cost of his son's life.
"I don't want Jason's death, that was so easily avoidable, to be for nothing."
Mr Garrels said unless you are faced with something like this, you cannot comprehend it.
Not only did he and his wife lose their eldest of four children. They were caught up in the court process after two companies were charged with negligence.
RELATED STORY >> Mr Garrels has been asked to help give "a voice to families"
So Mr Garrels spent his spare time reading up on workplace health and safety-related legislation.
"It was about Jason's death, I had to make myself as aware as I could possibly be," he said.
At first it was "daunting". But then he discovered what he believed were shortfalls in the system, including that there had never been a forum like this.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt, who will announce the forum today, said it would help change the judicial process for industrial work deaths by making it more transparent for those directly affected. "We made a promise to provide better support for the families of workers who have been injured or killed at work and we are now embarking on that reform process," he said.
And an inquest into Jason's death, held earlier this year, revealed just how preventable it was.
Mr Garrels said this forum, and the committee formed from it, would go towards helping to prevent further industry deaths or serious injuries.
- February 27, 2012: Jason Garrels is fatally electrocuted at a building site in Clermont
- August 2013: Cold Spark Pty Ltd pleaded guilty over the death and was fined $90,000.
- November 2014: Daytona Trading Pty Ltd (Jason's employer) also pleaded guilty and was fined $80,000
- March 2015: an inquest was held into Jason's death. The findings are pending.
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