SIX YEARS after the passing of her son, Kay Catanzariti has finally received the chance to address a long-awaited senate inquiry.
Her son Ben was just 21 years-old when after a concrete pouring boom collapsed on top of him at a Canberra construction site.
The road to justice has been long for the Catanzariti family, fraught dropped criminal charges and multiple inquests.
Mrs Catanzariti’s long fight for a federal inquiry into industrial workplace deaths was recognised in May.
She got the chance to address the inquest at a hearing earlier this week, but concedes her family’s fight is far from over.
“I hate what it’s done to me. I hate what it’s done to my family,” she said.
“I just keep fighting for justice and accountability. I just believe that’s what we all should do. I think we will make change.”
The lead-up to the speech was nerve-wracking. Mrs Catanzariti still hasn’t said everything she wanted to say.
“It was very emotional, overwhelming because I’ve been pushing for six years, since Ben got killed. It was September 2012 when I first started knocking on doors in Canberra,” she said.
“I could have quite easily rolled up and disappeared but as a mother – but also for wives and husbands – we want accountability and our loved ones aren't a number.”
She commends other families who chose to speak out, but empathises with those who can’t.
“I was relieved that it (the inquiry) has happened. I understand how it is extremely difficult for some family members to get up and speak,” she said.
She said she wants to see the recommendations put forward, including an end to statute of limitations surrounding industrial deaths, and increase in funding and more cooperation between police jurisdictions.
”Why should there be a time limit? Two years goes rather quickly. It’s what failed in Ben’s case.”
Following the inquiry, she wants to see recommendations adopted and local, state and federal politicians step out to support the cause.
Her submission detailed the hard road leading up to the need for an inquiry.
“Our family continues to deal with our grief and loss and has been affected greatly by the secondary effects of Ben’s death; inquests, prosecutions, estate/compensation and civil proceedings,” it read.
“Our lives have been fractured and refractured by these experiences. Through this painful process we have become intimately involved in the institutional responses to workplace death and injury. Notwithstanding the care, courage and commitment of a number of individuals, the overall systemic and institutional approach to workplace death is piecemeal, ineffective and frequently re-traumatising.”
The unacceptable elements of this experience spurred us to press for this inquiry.”
Mrs Catanzariti is determined to make sure Ben or anyone else killed on an industrial site is remembered as more than a statistic. She’s determined to see reform.
“I think we will make change,” she said.
The final report must be prepared by September 20.