Tuesday, 21 June 2022


Confined space rescue equipment

Confined space rescue equipment

Mr MEDDICK (Western Victoria) (19:01): (1989) My matter this evening is for the Minister for Emergency Services, and the action I seek is for her to meet with the Howkins and Brownlee families as they ask for a rollout of trench rescue and confined space rescue equipment to be implemented across Victoria. On 21 March 2018 a trench collapse at Delacombe near Ballarat killed two men, Charlie Howkins and Jack Brownlee. Four years ago not only was the rescue equipment not available, but those properly trained to use it were also over 2 hours away.

As someone who has confined space accreditation I know only too well what the consequences of not having the right equipment in an emergency and the capability for its deployment can mean. Minutes—seconds—are literally the difference between life and death. I have worked on sites where during induction it was drummed into us that if we could not get our comrades out within a specified time it was no longer a rescue but a body recovery mission.

I know that there are members here who have met the Howkins and Brownlee families, and I know that they have felt their pain, that they are not immune to it, that they are not uncaring. It is in that spirit that I ask the minister to meet with them to hear why we need to immediately begin the task of rolling out this equipment with proper coverage and training so that the families of Charlie and Jack will know that no other family will have to endure what they have.