The matter was heard before Magistrate Barry Cosgrove.
The matter was heard before Magistrate Barry Cosgrove.

Rockhampton and Livingstone councils dispute severed finger

DE-AMALGAMATION tensions simmered again yesterday as lawyers for Rockhampton and Livingstone councils disputed responsibility for a severed finger incident.

Rockhampton Regional Council's lawyer Douglas Campbell told Magistrate Barry Cosgrove that as part of de-amalgamation proceedings, several assets, finances and liabilities had to be reallocated to the new Livingstone Shire Council.

In an unusual matter before Rockhampton Magistrates Court, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland prosecuted Rockhampton Regional Council for not ensuring adequate measures and procedures were in place for a worker at the Yeppoon sewage treatment plant, in 2012.

This was when the plant was under Rockhampton's jurisdiction; before de-amalgamation and the Livingstone Shire Council had been established on January 1, 2014.

Barry William Murton was working at the sewage plant in February 2012 when a machine allegedly cut off his index finger.

Workplace Health and Safety officers filed a claim against Rockhampton Regional Council in February 2013, on behalf of Mr Murton, saying the local authority failed to provide a safe system of work for Mr Murton and maintain the plant in accordance with its manufacturer's manual.

Mr Campbell said, as part of these actions, several legal proceedings, including Mr Murton's matters, should now be in the hands of Livingstone Shire Council as the body had since de-amalgamated from the Rockhampton region.

In particular, the Yeppoon sewage treatment plant fell within the Local Government Area now known as the Livingstone Shire an it was now responsible for Mr Murton's matter.

Livingstone Shire Council lawyer Mark Hinson said the incident happened "on Rockhampton Regional Council's watch", meaning the incident happened before de-amalgamation.

"We're saying there are de-amalgamation laws relating to legal proceedings of a particular kind being transferred to a new council but we don't fit within that," Mr Hinson said.

Mr Cosgrove agreed and ordered the initial prosecution against Rockhampton Regional Council go ahead.



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