TODAY marks the third anniversary since one local family tragically lost their 22-year-old son to a botched insulation job under the Rudd Government’s failed “pink batts scheme”.
Next month, in the final step of their harrowing journey, Martin and Wendy Sweeney will attend a week-long coronial inquest into the deaths of four young men – including their son Mitchell.
Mrs Sweeney hopes the inquest, which begins on March 11 in Brisbane, will hold some closure for her family.
“I know it’s going to be really hard to listen to all the details and I’ve never had to do anything like this before, I don’t really know what to expect,” Mrs Sweeney said.
“I’m not sure if it’ll tell us anything new but it’s another process that we need to do.”
On February 4, 2010, Mitchell was working for Titan Insulations when he and two colleagues had finished installing foil insulation in a home near Cairns and were exiting the ceiling cavity.
None of the men had electrical training, the power to the house had not been turned off and at some point during the job, a metal staple used to secure the installation had been secured through a live wire.
Months earlier, metal staples had been banned.
Waiting to climb out of the roof, Mitchell stood on the electrified foil and his shoulder touched the corrugated iron roof, completing the circuit.
Mitchell was electrocuted and when paramedics arrived, they were unable to revive him.
“It will be upsetting to hear all the details at the inquest because you never really know exactly what happened,” Mrs Sweeny said.
“The two other boys who dragged him out of the ceiling, the man who owned the house who was watching the whole thing, they saw it and it must be so awful to live with that.
“But I don’t know if imagination is worse – some nights I lie in bed and it’s like a movie playing over and over.”
In 2011, Mitchell’s employers were fined $100,000 in a Brisbane court after they pleaded guilty to not operating their business in a safe way.
The Rudd Government introduced the bungled home insulation scheme in 2009 as part of the economic stimulus package.
But the government was forced to pull its $2.5 billion program 18 months early.
More than 100 house fires and four deaths have been linked to the scheme.