Government still insulating itself from blame
Mark Dreyfus must have been a wonderful lawyer. The 54-year-old Victorian QC is now the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency - the man who answers questions on the Federal Government’s bungling of its multi-billion dollar home insulation program.
At a press conference this morning journalists quizzing Mr Dreyfus over the latest scathing report into the $2.45 billion scheme were privileged to an impressive display of Mr Dreyfus’s lawyer skills, as we were delivered so many non-answers to questions.
Not only that, but journalists weren’t able to get their hands on a copy of the full report until 11am - the exact time Mr Dreyfus did his press conference.
About 90 minutes earlier a summary of the auditor-general’s report was released, but for such an important issue - which affects hundreds of thousands of Australians - it was disgracefully inadequate that journalists were not able to at least read the full report before Mr Dreyfus responded to questions from the nation’s media.
Under the home insulation program around 1.1 million roofs across the country were insulated with foil and non-foil products.
Following four deaths, more than 100 house fires, dozens of injuries and countless examples of fraud, the government axed the disastrous program in April this year.
Now more than 200 house fires have been linked to the program, and according to the report, around 4,000 potential cases of fraud have been identified.
The government has committed to conducting 150,000 safety inspections in the homes fitted with non-foil product - including batts - as well as all of the 50,000 homes fitted with foil.
The report said that as at March this year, of the 13,808 roof safety inspections conducted around 29 per cent had identified installations ``with some level of deficiency, ranging from minor quality issues to serious safety concerns’‘.
The auditor-general’s report was also scathing of the way the Department of Environment managed the program.
It was a damning report into a serious issue - still tens of thousands of householders are waiting for inspections.
To fix the colossal mess it will cost nearly half a billion dollars - a huge impost on taxpayers which should have been spent instead on helping householders, creating jobs and helping the environment.
Mr Dreyfus revealed 95,000 safety inspections had now been done, and said the safety inspections of homes fitted with foil would be finished by Christmas. He couldn’t - or wouldn’t - say when he thought the safety inspections of homes fitted with non-foil product would be completed.
Mr Dreyfus also refused to say what percentage of the 95,00 homes inspected were found to have inadequate, unsafe or dodgy installations. It is not known if it is 29 per cent, lower than 29 per cent, or higher than 29 per cent.
Mr Dreyfus copped a hammering by the media today and it was a little unfair - he was just the messenger.
The person who should have been fronting the media, Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Minister Greg Combet - who answers to the Parliament - did not show up.
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@mooks83 sophisticated response. Think the kids parents saw it differently
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