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Council facing $7M fine for crocodile cage

A Northern Territory council could be fined more than $7 million after a worker almost drowned when an amphibious weed harvester fitted with a crocodile cage capsized.

The man was operating the vessel to remove weeds from a lake in the City of Palmerston, 20km south of Darwin, when it rolled, trapping the operator underwater in February 2020.

He escaped from the capsized craft but suffered injuries during the incident.

NT WorkSafe alleges the council modified the craft by installing a crocodile cage without consulting the manufacturer on how it would affect the craft’s stability and safety during operation.

The City of Palmerston is facing nine breaches of the NT’s work health and safety laws, including failing its primary duty of care to the worker and improper management and control of fittings, fixtures or plant at a workplace.

The council is also accused of failing to provide adequate training, first aid and an emergency plan.

If found guilty of all charges, it could be fined a maximum combined penalty of $7,090,000.

The matter is scheduled for mention in the Darwin Local Court on August 29.

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