Vic fund for families of killed tradies

Georgie Moore
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VICTORIAN LABOR STATE CONFERENCE

Daniel Andrews has announced a new fund to support families of Victorian tradies who die on the job

Victoria will spend $10 million to support families of tradies who die on the job and to pursue their employers through the courts.

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a $4 million "families fund" to ease the financial burden for those whose loved ones are killed or injured at work.

"Whether it's covering the cost of childcare or helping out with urgent bills, this is about supporting families when they need it most," he told Victorian Labor's annual conference on Saturday.

The fund, part of the state government's $10 million industrial manslaughter crackdown, will be managed by a committee made up mostly of workers' families.

A specialist investigate team will also be created within WorkSafe to pursue companies through the courts.

Truck drivers who die behind the wheel will be counted as workplace deaths from next year, and families will receive counselling and greater support to help them navigate the court system.

Under the government's workplace manslaughter laws, set to be debated in the upper house later this month, companies and their executives could face up to fines of up to $16 million and up to 20 years' jail.

They have already passed the Legislative Assembly where Mr Andrews enjoys an overwhelming majority after last year's state election victory.

"Pursuing big, brave, bold and often difficult policy reform, that has always been the Labor movement's vision and it is always when we are at our best," the premier told the party faithful on Saturday.

This year hasn't been as smooth sailing for the federal party, which is rethinking its direction after the shock May election loss.

Federal leader Anthony Albanese was a no-show for the Victorian conference and construction unionists walked out on his deputy Richard Marles as he prepared to speak on Saturday.

It came after CFMMEU official John Setka accused Mr Albanese of turning his back on working class Australians for not attending, tweeting he should "grow some balls".

Mr Albanese wanted to boot Mr Setka from the party after he was convicted of harassing his wife and accused of criticising anti-domestic violence campainer Rosie Batty.

The union boss eventually quit instead.

Mr Marles did not appear to acknowledge the walk-out when he addressed the party faithful, and paid tribute to the state's trade union as well as former federal leader Bill Shorten.