Family will get justice for Rueben

RUEBEN Barnes was killed, just 16-years-old, while installing insulation at a Stanwell home near Rockhampton on November 18.

This is a letter from his grieving family who will never give up the fight for Rueben.

 Thank you to The Morning Bulletin for naming and shaming Arrow Property Maintenance as the employer of Rueben Barnes.

This company has now been deregistered from the government’s home insulation scheme and will no longer be reaping the financial rewards of this multi-billion dollar taxpayer funded program.

The government has finally, after three agonizing weeks, done something to bring about some small amount of justice for Rueben.

It is far too little, far too late.

Rueben should have received government accredited training before he was mercilessly sent up into that roof.

The government should have had in place regulations requiring a qualified electrician to be on site before Rueben was unsuspectingly sent up into a ceiling cavity live with electricity.

The government should have insisted that all homes undergo a mandatory risk assessment before inexperienced young boys like Rueben were sent into an environment that was not only unsafe, but deadly.

These basic measures of safety should have been the first thing the government considered before the roll out of this scheme.

As of December 1, some additional safety measures have been introduced to the industry.

But it’s not enough and it is too late for Rueben. They should have been mandatory from the get-go.

And had they been? We would still have Rueben with us.

If these new safety measures are appropriate to bring in now Mr Garrett, why weren’t they mandatory all along?

How, with all your staffing expertise and taxpayer dollars did you not reasonably foresee that a billion-dollar program such as this would be a beacon for shonky and greedy operators looking to make a quick (and easy) buck at the expense of their workers lives?

How did you not foresee that this program, with its inadequate safety regulations and sub-standard training requirements would not be the cause of not one, but multiple deaths?

There are now three families that have been left shattered and forced to endure Christmas and every occasion after without their loved ones. All as a result of this scheme.

This scheme has a lot to answer for Mr Garrett. One life cost is too many, but three? Inexcusable.

Rueben is our son. Our brother. We will get justice for him.

Read more about Rueben Barnes.

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