Sunday, June 22, 2008


Red News Readers,

Instead of weeping crocodile tears over these deaths, Kevin Rudd would do well to abolish the ABCC, so building unions can do their work in ensuring safety standards in the industry.

Jenny Haines

25 storey death plunge

Melissa Singer, Sun Herald

June 22, 2008

TWO construction workers died when scaffolding collapsed at a Gold Coast building site yesterday.

The men, aged 52 and 36, from the Gold Coast, were patching concrete on the side of the Meriton Pegasus high-rise complex at Broadbeach about 8.30am when the scaffolding collapsed, sending them on a 25-storey plunge.

Both men, one of whom is believed to have two young children, were killed instantly. Police said no one else was hurt.

Union boss Michael Ravbar said it appeared the accident occurred after the swing-stage scaffold the men were working on "flicked out" and a counterweight faltered, sending the men plummeting to the ground.

A Meriton spokesman said senior executives, including company chairman Harry Triguboff, travelled to the Gold Coast as soon as they received the news.

He said the men were employed by a subcontractor and were not direct employees of Meriton.

They were on a platform similar to those used by window cleaners.

A woman who works at a holiday-unit complex in the next street, who gave her name only as Sherry, described hearing an "almighty crash" coming from the direction of the building site.
Resident Stephen Grey also heard the accident.

"I came outside to have a look and could just see a couple of dead bodies within the scaffolding," he said.

"I just feel for their families," construction worker Ari Gara said.

Mr Ravbar, Queensland secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, said work had been suspended on the site and would not restart for up to a week but he expected some workmen would not be able to return.

"When deaths happen, some men can't go back to where their workmates died," he said.

"Different people have different ways of dealing with their grief."

Investigations by the Queensland office of Workplace Health and Safety will continue this week.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who was on his way to the Queensland Labor Party conference across the road from the site of the accident near the time it occurred, offered his condolences to the victims' families.

"As Labor people, our thoughts are with the families of those men and this terrible accident reminds us all of the dangers which continue to affect so many of the work sites of Australia," he said in his address to the conference.

The Meriton spokesman said the company would co-operate with all aspects of the police and workplace safety investigation.