Anniversary of the Delacombe trench collapse tragedy – Members Statement

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Ms ADDISON (Wendouree) (10:05:58): Today marks one year since the devastating Delacombe trench collapse.

Jack Brownlee was 21 and Charlie Howkins was 34 on that Wednesday morning when the disaster occurred. Charlie was buried by tonnes of loose earth and was killed instantly. Emergency services fought for several hours to free Jack. He was airlifted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital and died the following day.

It is a year since these two families’ hearts were broken, their lives changed forever, when Charlie and Jack did not come home from work. Charlie’s wife, Lana, kissed him goodbye at breakfast and he was gone by lunchtime. The love of her life had been killed and their two very young children had their dad taken away forever.

I want to send my love to Dave, Janine and Mitch and their family on the loss of their beloved Jackie Boy, a young man that brought such joy to his close-knit family, taken too soon.

Because of Charlie and Jack, and the many other workplace deaths, we will introduce new workplace manslaughter laws. I admire the strength, courage and determination of Lana and Janine and Dave and thank them for their advocacy. And whilst these laws will not bring back Charlie and Jack, other families will be saved from the pain you live with. We will not let you down.


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