It has been a harrowing six years for Kay Catanzariti, but her fight for justice may be nearing victory, with a Senate inquiry drawing to a close.
Ben Catanzariti died from the severe head injuries he sustained, after concrete pouring boom fell on top of him at a Kingston Foreshore construction site in Canberra.
The tragedy was one of many workplace deaths across Australia, with about 200 workers killed every year, according to the University of Sydney.
Thrust into a living nightmare, Mrs Catanzariti used her grief to fuel a crusade for answers, kickstarting a broader campaign for a Senate inquiry.
After navigating the gruelling and complex legal processes and dispute systems for so long, Mrs Catanzariti in 2016 said she was on the verge of giving up hope. That was until she secured the backing of a major union in 2017. In another win, Mrs Catanzariti was also told a team of senators would support her push to tighten workplace legislation across the country.
The resulting Senate inquiry was referred to the education and employment references committee, with a report due on September 20.
The “Inquiry into Industrial Deaths in Australia” has since been extended for a second time, following an “overwhelming” response, with almost 60 written submissions received.
“Hopefully this will be the beginning of many changes,” Mrs Catanzariti said. “Finally, we can say we were able to change laws in a small way. But the fact is, this inquiry has opened up something much bigger.”
Committee chair, Labor senator Gavin Marshall, who helped Mrs Catanzariti make the inquiry happen, said the number of responses had been surprising.
He said the committee was still sifting through the evidence presented, relating to the prevention, investigation and prosecution of industrial deaths, but hoped to have the report finalised, with recommendations put to the Senate before November.
“There clearly needs to be a significant change to the ways industrial deaths are investigated across the board,” Senator Marshall said.
“That is clear.”
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