FOR two families, March 21 is a day they will never forget, but it remains the day that they will be forever linked.
Dave and Janine Brownlee didn't know Lana Cormie before this day two years ago when two of their loved ones became intrinsically connected.
That was the day that the Brownlee's son Jack and Lana's husband Charlie went to work and never came home.
Two years since that fateful day, the families have been at the forefront of new laws which will come into power in this state on July 1 to prosecute negligent employers who are found to have contributed to the death of the employees.
Sadly, two years on, one can argue little has been achieved to change unsafe workplace practices.
Just last week, Victoria saw its 12th and 13th workplace deaths for the year - double that of last year at the same time.
And on Thursday, Solar 2.0 Pty Ltd was charged with two breaches of section 21(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to maintain a working environment that was safe and without risks to health.
The charges relate to an incident on November 30, 2018, in which a 21-year-old male employee died after falling from a ladder while installing solar panels in the suburb of Kennington.
In an emotional interview with The Courier commemorating the day, both families say they will never be the same again.
For the ever grieving Brownlee family, March 21, 2018 was the day their lives turned upside down.
"People don't understand how far these things travel, grandparents, siblings, friends, everything," Dave Brownlee said.
"We've gone from a vibrant family, with mates, girlfriends, to everyone just gone.
"You expect your kids will get up and leave one day, but you don't ever prepare for this.
"Our son Mitchell is in Tamworth, Jack's passing was one of the reasons, no doubt.
"We had a wake for Jack and some 500 people were there, many of those kids are still suffering today.
"We'll never be the same again. We're trying as best we can, but if one of us is struggling, we won't go out, we don't do that unless we both feel right. We put on a front every time you go out."
Dr Cormie, a mother of two young children, never planned to become an activist, but feels she owes it to the memory of her husband.
But she knows that without her work, that of the Brownlees and that of many others around the country, bosses will continue to cut corners and lives will be lost.
She said each day was about getting through as best you could.
"Every day is a day without Charlie," she said.
"I don't see Saturday as being any different. It's not something I want to focus on. It's important for the children it's a day like any other.
"Of course we'll spend some special family time. Every day is hard. there's no relief from it. I absolutely can't imagine how I would have got through it without the Brownlees. I couldn't have been luckier to be able to go through something like this with them.
"An event like this brings always people together. You see the best and worst in human behaviour."
Mr Brownlee said he hopes that the efforts to lobby government are making a difference in people's lives.
"Honestly, we can't see change at the moment," he said,
"We know these things are coming, but it's got to be in stone. We have to get all companies in it together.
"We don't want to see bosses to go jail. This is all about making workplaces safe. If it takes longer to do a job, you've just got to do it."
Mr Brownlee said one positive to come from Jack's death is a new family that's been created.
"Lana is totally amazing, we've got a bond that's unbreakable," he said.
"We've been thrown in it together. We love her and all the kids. We couldn't imagine life without them."
Dr Cormie said while much has been achieved, more support was needed for victim's families.
"We now have a legislative committee for affected families," she said.
"If the worst happens and they go through it, there will be support there.
"However, I think compensation to families needs to be looked at. It's not meeting the needs of loved one at this point.
"People think you get millions, you don't. People struggle forever because of this.
"But If you stop people dying, companies and families all benefit. Sure it might cost more in the short term, but it's a small price to pay so you don't find yourself in this position."
Dr Cormie said the next step was to lobby for uniform laws across the country which will be able to come into line with those in Queensland, the ACT and Victoria.
"There's campaigning going across the country to make workplace manslaughter nationally recognised," she said.
"States are taking their own leadership on their workplace health and safety laws.
"I can't speak highly enough of (Industrial Realtions Minister) Jill Hennessy who is prepared to take a high moral stance on these issues.
"The same has to be said for Premier Daniel Andrews and his support. We hope to see a lot more changes filter through onto the ground."
Minister for Workplace Safety Jill Hennessy paid tribute to the families.
"Ahead of the second anniversary of the deaths of Jack and Charlie - I'm reminded that they were taken from us far too soon," Ms Hennessy said.
"This community has been through far too much and we must do more to stop Victorians being killed at work.
"I want to acknowledge Lana, Dave and Janine - these reforms could not have happened without the dedication and advocacy of families who tragically lost loved ones too soon."
Since Jack and Charlie's death, four more men have lost their lives in Ballarat workplace accidents.
A former Ballarat man Greg Roberts also died on the job while working on a property in St Leonards in November last year.
Ms Hennessy said the state government was appalled by the deaths and would stop at nothing to make sure Victorian workplaces were safe going into the future.
"We promised we'd make workplace manslaughter a criminal offence and that's exactly what we've done - because there is nothing more important than every worker coming home safe every day," she said.
For The Brownlees and Dr Cormie the fight goes on. They will have their day in court later this year when a trial begins into the deaths.
Mr Brownlee said the pain will always remain at their side.
"Right now we can't prioritise to put it on our shoulder and carry that burden because it's still in front of us every day and will remain so," Mr Brownlee said.
The trial is scheduled to begin in October.
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