Teenagers ‘shocked’ while fishing – calls for power network review

Harry Brawn and Daniel Bowman were fishing in north Queensland when they came into contact with a live component of the power network.

Apr 27, 2021, updated Apr 27, 2021

The teenagers miraculously escaped and were treated in hospital before being released.

The near tragedy at El Arish, near Tully in north Queensland, has put the spotlight on the safety and reliability of the state’s power distribution network. The influential Electrical Trades Union is now in a position to push for major reforms.

In parliament last week, Katter’s Australian Party MP Shane Knuth asked the government what was being done about “a faulty livewire conductor falling into a river” and nearly killing two people in his electorate.

Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said he had been briefed on the incident and would await the outcome of an investigation by the Electrical Safety Office.

The Minister has also asked Ergon and Powerlink to hold a round table discussion with the ETU about the state of the network.

“When the ministers responsible for those government owned corporations ask them to conduct specific activities, they perform those activities,” de Brenni told parliament.

“That would not have happened if they were sold off.”

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace recently commissioned former ETU official Dick Williams to conduct a review of the Electrical Safety Act. Williams is expected to consult widely before making findings and recommendations to government in December.

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