Deadly and Dumped: Bungled Green Scheme is No More
One million people who had their homes insulated under the bungled energy efficiency scheme would be anxious until every roof was checked, says the Opposition. The A$2.45 billion scheme – linked to four deaths and more than 120 house fires – was dumped by the Government last week. An anonymous Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts insider told ABC TV’s Four Corners program that staff tried to warn their superiors about the risks of the insulation scheme.
AAP Report (26 April 2010):
SAFETY was put second to job creation when the federal government designed its ill-fated home insulation scheme, a whistleblower claims.
The $2.45 billion scheme – linked to four deaths and more than 120 house fires – was dumped last week.
An anonymous Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts insider told ABC TV’s Four Corners program, aired on Monday, that staff tried to warn their superiors about the risks of the insulation scheme.
“We were told many times, by senior management, that the technical and safety issues were of less importance than getting this program up and running to create jobs,” he said.
“Without proper audit of the work, without the proper audit of the competence of the installers, there was no way of knowing whether a house had foil insulation, or any material, installed safety.
“Because the installers were not trained properly, there was no way of checking that installers knew what they were doing.”
Matthew Fuller, 26, was the first installer to be electrocuted while working under the scheme.
On October 14 last year, six days into the job, he was installing foil insulation in a house south of Brisbane, when he fired a metal staple through a live cable.
His girlfriend Monique Pridmore, who was four days into the job, was seriously injured in the incident and is still recovering.
Mr Fuller’s mother Christine blames his death on the government, for rolling out the scheme without a plan.
“There was no duty of care anywhere in any of this from the top down, from the government to the ministers, their aides, the guys that employed them,” she said.
“There was no care.”
His father Kevin said the couple met with Assistant Energy Efficiency Minister Greg Combet about the scheme, and although Prime Minister Kevin Rudd joined the meeting, he had little sympathy.
“Even ‘sorry for your loss’ would’ve been good,” he said.
Both Mr Rudd and Environment Minister Peter Garrett declined to be interviewed for the program.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott called on Mr Rudd to reveal what he knew about the home insulation bungle.
“I think the prime minister has a very, very serious case to answer,” he told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
“What did he know, when did he know it and knowing what he obviously did know, why has he made the promises that he did make?”
Mr Abbott said one million people who had their homes insulated under the scheme would be anxious until every roof was checked.
“The government received many, many warnings and those warnings went right to the top,” he said.