Payout Closer For Rockhampton Family Who Lost Son

LAWYER Bill Potts says negotiations will start later this month to determine the compensation paid to the family of Rockhampton teenager Rueben Barnes.

Rueben, 16, was one of four young men who died on the Rudd government’s failed home insulation scheme. He was electrocuted in the roof of a house near Rockhampton in 2009.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced late last year that the families and next of kin of the victims would receive compensation.

Mr Potts, who has been acting for Rueben’s father Murray Barnes, said negotiations and mediation would start after January 19.

Queens Counsel Ian Hangar, who presided over the Royal Commission into the home insulation program, has been appointed mediator for the compensation negotiations.

Mr Potts welcomed the government’s acknowledgement of “the real harm and loss” that each of the families suffered.

“I hope that their rhetoric is matched by their generosity in paying compensation to these families,” Mr Potts said.

“The reason is twofold. It’s recognition of regret by the government that young men were killed in circumstances which were entirely predictable and entirely preventable.

“Secondly, it will also be a demonstration that they understand the significant loss that the families have suffered, losing young men in their prime, and that the pain and loss will reverberate through their lives.

“Money will never bring somebody back, but at least it will go some distance towards giving them recognition that their children’s lives were not wasted.”

Story by:  | The Morning Bulletin