Truckie claiming compo in two states has case dismissed

A TWEED truck driver injured on the job has failed in his bid to double dip on workers compensation claims in NSW and Queensland because he worked both sides of the border.

From 2007, Trent Ferguson worked as a delivery driver for Reece Plumbing.

While his truck was kept at the Tweed Heads depot, a Brisbane Supreme Court heard Mr Ferguson "predominantly" worked in Queensland, delivering mainly to Beaudesert and Springfield Lakes, with the occasional trip south to Casino and Lismore.

On May 5, 2010, he was delivering a hot water system to a building site at Goonellabah, south of Lismore, when he suffered what his solicitor described as "a significant personal injury".

Almost a year later, he received a payout through the NSW WorkCover Scheme but not from Reece, which, according to documents tendered in court, was not obliged to because Mr Ferguson "did not usually work in NSW".

A follow-up claim for damages through WorkCover Queensland was rejected on the basis he worked in NSW.

As a result, Mr Ferguson applied to have the relevant legislation clarified in the Supreme Court.

Judge Applegarth said it was important to establish two things - where Mr Ferguson "usually worked" and where he was "usually based".

He concluded there was "no one state" in which Mr Ferguson "usually worked" as his deliveries took him to Queensland but his work in NSW was also "customary, common and frequent".

He took into account Mr Ferguson's claims that more than 70% of his deliveries were made in Queensland and that he took Queensland public holidays but found that, ultimately, the driver was "based" at Tweed Heads.

"Tweed Heads was the place where the applicant turned up for work each morning, received his instructions, loaded his truck, reported to and returned to at the end of each work day," Judge Applegarth said.

"Tweed Heads was the place at which the truck he used was based - it was the centre out of which he operated...it was his usual base".

The case was dismissed.


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