After wife and two kids died, compensation appeal allowed

Danny McGuire, also known as Gary Jibson, and surviving son Zac Jibson received a Queensland Disaster Heroes award in June 2011.
Danny McGuire, also known as Gary Jibson, and surviving son Zac Jibson received a Queensland Disaster Heroes award in June 2011. Sarah Harvey

A VOLUNTEER firefighter seeking compensation more than six years after the death of his wife and two kids has won an appeal about compensation.

In 2013, Lockyer Valley man Gary Jibson, also known as Danny McGuire, sued the government for $485,000 after losing his wife Llync-Chiann Clarke-Jibson, 12-year-old son Garry, and daughter Jocelyn, 5.

They died in the massive January 2011 Grantham floods.

Mr Jibson applied for compensation from WorkCover Queensland.

He claimed workers' compensation benefits, on the basis his wife, 31, was a Grantham rural fire brigade member, and that her death resulted from injury received when performing duties as a brigade member.

In 2014, WorkCover rejected Mr Jibson's compensation bid.

But Mr Jibson went to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to appeal.

Earlier this year, at a QIRC hearing in Gatton, the Workers' Compensation Regulator argued Miss Clarke-Jibson was not a rural firefighter at the time of her death, because of a shortfall in application paperwork.

But in a newly published decision, QIRC Deputy President Leslie Kaufman found Miss Clarke-Jibson had sent all relevant documents to Queensland Fire and Rescue Service.

This, Mr Kaufman said, was despite the fact neither Mr Jibson nor the regulator could find a letter from the fire service showing Miss Clarke-Jibson had passed the pre-membership check.

It was agreed Miss Clarke had been issued with some spare protective clothing, even though she was not "formally issued" with the clothing provided upon becoming a brigade member.

"I am satisfied that Miss Clarke was a member of a rural fire brigade, the Grantham Brigade, at the time of her passing," Mr Kaufman added.

Mr Jibson's appeal was allowed.

That meant the case would go back to the Workers' Compensation Regulator.

Mr Kaufman also ordered the regulator to pay Mr Jibson's costs.

"I'm just trying to get Llync recognised as a rural fire member which has been a long time coming," Mr Jibson told the Queensland Times after the Gatton Magistrates Court hearing in February.

He said any money would go to support his surviving son, Zac.

"It brings back a lot of memories for me which hurt but it has got to be done."

Miss Clarke-Jibson was among a group who rescued a woman who had driven her car into floodwaters.

But water engulfed a rural fire truck Mr Jibson and his family were in.

The floods hit areas including Grantham, Toowoomba, and places across the Lockyer Valley in January 2011.


Topics:  editors picks gatton grantham rural fire workcover

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