CHANGE NEEDED: Michael and Lee Garrels, who lost their son Jason to a workplace accident.
CHANGE NEEDED: Michael and Lee Garrels, who lost their son Jason to a workplace accident. Lee Constable

Gympie dad speaks at Victims' Families forum

HEARTBREAKING stories of death and serious injury were told as part of the first Victims' Families Forum.

Gympie's Michael Garrels and his wife Lee have been the driving force behind the initiative after their son Jason was electrocuted in February 2012 at the Clermont building site where he worked.

The forum was held in Brisbane on Tuesday.

Mr Garrels said it was a relief that his voice now wasn't the only one pushing for legislative change.

The forum examined existing government consultative response and support structures for families and workers who have lost a loved one or been seriously injured at work.

Mr Garrels said he believed the government heads who attended were shocked on hearing the stories and how isolated and lost families affected by workplace death and injury felt.

"The message really came across... that communication and process doesn't appear to be anywhere near close to adequate," he said.

A common point made by all those who spoke was that when things weren't done properly it felt like a devaluing of the life that was lost.

Mr Garrels said a "working party" was formed from the forum, which will look at legislation needed to make an effective committee as well as be a point of call for affected families.

Industrial Relations Minister Curtis Pitt thanked all the family members who bravely spoke "about the darkest hours of their lives".

"These families have been to hell and back and we can't allow their lost loved ones to become a statistic."

Mr Pitt said he was committed to looking for new ways to support grieving families.

"A consistent theme from Tuesday's forum revolved around issues with the collation of forensic information, judicial transparency and communication break downs between state and federal agencies."

Gympie Times


Tributes flow for beloved ‘Tarzan’

premium_icon Tributes flow for beloved ‘Tarzan’

An incredible piece of Queensland history has come to an end

MUSTER DAY 1: What you can't miss this Thursday

MUSTER DAY 1: What you can't miss this Thursday

Two global music superstars will make an appearance - of sorts.

Turnbull: "They don't like us being focused on ourselves"

Turnbull: "They don't like us being focused on ourselves"

"Disunity undermines the ability of any government"

Local Partners