Queensland's new Consultative Committee for Work-related Fatalities and Serious Incidents has wound up its first year and drawn up plans for its advocacy work in 2023.
The committee, which was appointed to run from 2022 to 2025, this year focused on contributing to the Department of Justice and Attorney-General’s review of the Recording of Evidence Regulation 2018 and advocating for families to receive free transcripts in coronial inquests and Industrial Court prosecutions.
The 2022–2025 Consultative committee for work-related fatalities and serious incidents was appointed earlier this year by Minister Grace Grace. The members are all volunteers who have either experienced the loss of a loved one or been affected by serious injury or illness through a work-related incident. It provides advice and recommendations to the Minister about the information and support needed by affected people.
In 2023, the Affected Persons Committee is looking to continue providing advice and information on the support needs of bereaved families by strengthening linkages and partnerships with government and non-government agencies. It also will continue its focus on cross-government engagement to ensure the benefits of collaborating with people with ‘lived experience’ are heard, and that the needs of those affected by work-related fatalities and serious incidents are met.
This year, the committee also worked with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland on proposed regulations for quad bikes and side by side vehicles, They advocated for safety in schools with the Department of Education and independent and Catholic schools, and hosted the Workers’ Memorial Breakfast to honour those who lost their lives in a work-related incident.
During a Workers’ Memorial Day commemoration, Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said 24 people died in Queensland due to work related incidents. Another eight bystanders lost their lives in a workplace setting.
“The work of the Consultative Committee for Work-Related Fatalities and Serious Incidents - or Affected Persons Committee as it’s known - is also very important,” Minister Grace said.
“This group ensures government, industry and Queensland communities learn from the experiences of people and families who have had to cope with the effects of work-related tragedies.
“The committee provides advice to us on what families need to make the process as bearable as possible, and are supported as they navigate the complexities of investigations and coronial inquests.
“This has led to the Government funding a legal coronial assistance service which gives families access to free legal advice throughout the coronial process and a free grief and trauma counselling service for those who may benefit from therapeutic support,” she said.
APC Chair Dan Kennedy said: ‘In 2023, the committee looks forward to continuing to provide advice on the best way to inform and support affected persons of work-related fatalities and serious incidents so we can foster stronger working relationships with government and aligned agencies.
“As a committee of affected people, we encourage other affected persons and families of work-related fatalities and serious incidents to contact us and connect with others who are walking a similar journey,” Chair Kennedy said.
Affected Persons Committee (L to R – Jacci Quinlivan, Deb Kennedy, Chair Dan Kennedy, Anna James, Don Sager, Julie Sager). *Absent: Deputy Chair Sean O’Connor
If you'd like to know more about the committee, or engage the committee for advice, you can contact the Committee Secretariat on 0417 910 130 or OHSConsultativeCommittee@oir.qld.gov.au