Iain Park, father of Joshua Park-Fing
Iain Park, father of Joshua Park-Fing

Dad sues for $750k over work-for-dole death

THE Royal Agricultural Society of Queensland has been slapped with a $750,000 damages suit by the distraught father of a teen who died on a work-for-the-dole project.

Iain Gordon Park, 48, a delivery driver from Newtown in Toowoomba, filed his claim against the 159-year-old farming organisation and a job agency in the District Court on September 23.

Mr Park claims in court documents that, since his son Joshua Park-Fing died aged 19 on April 19, 2016, he has been unable to work due to pain and discomfort caused by a psychological disorder triggered by his tragic loss.

Joshua Park-Fing died from serious injuries including a head injury after he struck his head when he was thrown from the back of a trailer, towed by a speeding tractor, at the Toowoomba Showgrounds.

He was required to work at the showgrounds or risk losing his Centrelink payments under the work-for-the-dole scheme, court documents state.

Joshus Park-Fing
Joshus Park-Fing

Mr Park alleges both the RASQ and job agency Neato Employment Services, from Cannonvale in the Whitsunday region, were liable for his son's death because they negligently allowed people to ride unrestrained on trailers unfit for the job, and failed to maintain the tractor.

Mr Park has also sued a nominal defendant, the driver of the tractor, alleging they are liable for failing to stop the tractor before it sped out of control down a hill.

Mr Park is claiming RASQ is liable to compensate him for his psychological trauma caused by the loss of his son, with whom he had a "close and loving relationship".

He is claiming $169,000 for future economic impairment due to not being able to earn $300 a week driving a bread delivery truck since July 21, 2016, and $28,090 for general damages for pain and suffering and loss due to his psychological disorder.

Mr Park alleges in his claim that Neato should have required the work-for-the-dole participants be transported in a dual-cab ute around the showground and should have checked that the tractor and trailer were safe.

He alleges that his son died when he and the tractor driver were entirely unsupervised by anyone from the RASQ or Neato and that the tractor had not been given a major service in eight years.

The tractor's brakes were unreliable and it was generally in "poor condition", the claim states.

No defence has been filed by the defendants, and no court date has been set for hearing.