The brother of a former worker at the Proserpine Sugar Mill in north Queensland who died of an incurable asbestos related disease in 2009 has been awarded compensation by WorkCover Queensland.
Rod Fraser, who lived with his brother Andrew Fraser before he died, was awarded a modest compensation amount as his family relied on gratuitous monthly payments from the sugar mill worker.
Brisbane-based Slater and Gordon asbestos lawyer, Carl Hughes, said the asbestos compensation would help ease the financial burden suffered by Rod and his family since his brother passed away.
“Rod, his wife and five daughters relied on financial assistance from Andrew over a number of years for living and medical expenses for the family,” Mr Hughes said.
“Unfortunately Andrew passed away in 2009, which was devastating news for the family to have lost a loved one to a disease such as mesothelioma.
“Rod and his family were able to claim for a lump sum from WorkCover as they had become dependent on Andrew and his income over the years and had adjusted their lifestyle accordingly.
“Andrew’s assistance was helping to pay for medical expenses for Rod’s wife, whose capacity to work is limited by a heart condition,” he said.
Mr Fraser, who is now living in Victoria, said the support from his brother became a normal part of life.
“Andrew didn’t have a family of his own, so I guess he felt he was somewhat responsible for us,” Mr Fraser said.
“As my employment is often intermittent, and my wife has a heart condition that requires ongoing medical treatment, the financial assistance Andrew provided to us became even more vital.
“Even when Andrew moved out, he still provided assistance to my family, especially to his nieces. We’re so grateful for his assistance and support during a tough time in our lives.
“Of course I’d rather have my brother back with us,” Mr Fraser said.
Andrew Fraser worked as a labourer on a demolition team at the Proserpine Sugar Mill for about six months in 1982. He died in August 2009 aged 53 just six months after being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma.
In 2010 the independent statutory authority, Q-COMP, rejected Andrew Fraser’s claim for compensation which was lodged prior to his death.
This decision was overturned in 2011 by the Queensland Industrial Magistrates Court when it found Andrew’s exposure to asbestos at the sugar mill was directly related to his death, despite the fact he may have been exposed to asbestos while working in other jobs.