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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1966

Mr PASIN (Barker) (16:33): I rise to speak about a young man's tough six-month journey back into employment. Jack Thorne is a young man who lives in Worrolong in my electorate of Barker. I first met Jack in a formal capacity through his involvement in the 48th Australian Army Cadet unit. On the morning of 12 August last year, Jack, full of enthusiasm for an apprenticeship he'd begun not three weeks earlier, left for work before sustaining serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident. Jack was lifted to the Flinders Medical Centre and spent five days in an induced coma, a week in intensive care and many months hospitalised thereafter. Jack, by dint of sheer determination, has recovered from his life-threatening injuries. I'm so proud to say that against all the odds he has returned to work on his apprenticeship.

But this story is so much more than a story about a young man's grit and determination. Within hours of the incident, Jack's employer, K&S Freighters, had arranged for staff to be present at his hospital bed, and they have supported him throughout his recovery. Jack's father, Lee, in correspondence with me, put it better than I ever could:

Jack is a good hard working young man but nevertheless he had only been employed at K&S for 3 weeks. Local companies are quickly complained about but not so quickly praised. This was not a work accident and accordingly the company had no obligations to keep him on whatsoever. In our darkest time for K&S to arrange for staff to visit us in hospital in Adelaide and reassure Jack that his apprenticeship would still be there when he was able to return was a great relief.

We often talk about employees and employers and their combative relationship in this place. That's not my experience and it wasn't Jack's.