Commission report slams Rudd's insulation scheme
RESPECTED Queensland barrister Ian Hanger has been scathing in delivering his highly-anticipated findings into the botched home insulation scheme.
The deadly $2.8 billion home insulation scheme was the brainchild of the Kevin Rudd-led former Labor government.
It resulted in the deaths of four young men and more than 200 house fires across the country.
Queenslanders Matthew Fuller, 25, Reuben Barnes, 16, and Mitchell Sweeney, 22, and New South Welshman Marcus Wilson, 19, were all killed as a direct result of the controversial scheme.
Mr Hanger, who headed the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Scheme, found the former Rudd government's policy was poorly planned and implemented.
"The reality is that the Australian Government conceived of, devised, designed and implemented a program that enabled very large numbers of inexperienced workers," he said.
"Often engaged by unscrupulous and avaricious employers or head contractors, who were themselves inexperienced in insulation installation, to undertake potentially dangerous work.
"It should have done more to protect them."
Mr Hanger said, in his 300 page report, the four deaths in 2009 and 2010 would not have occurred had the scheme not been rushed.
He said the government did nothing to stop reflective foil sheeting being installed across ceiling joists with metal staples despite being aware of the dangers.
"In my view each death would, and should, not have occurred had Homeowners Insulation Program been properly designed and implemented," he said
"The decision to permit the use of reflective foil sheeting as ceiling insulation was, in my view, fundamentally flawed.
"It directly contributed to the deaths of Mr Fuller and Mr Sweeney."
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who ordered the $20 million inquiry, said on Monday the findings revealed a litany of failures arising from a dysfunctional culture in the former administration.
He said the findings were grave and its recommendations detailed.
"Four young men lost their lives as a consequence of this bungled program, "he said.
"As well, homes were damaged or destroyed and businesses badly affected.
"I hope this report brings some comfort to everyone affected."
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he would consider the report findings and recommendations carefully.
"If there are lessons in this report which can improve safety so that other families never have to go through this again then we will approach that appropriately," he said.
"We are up for any improvements we can make to safety and the lessons.
"We are not up for a political blame game."
Mr Abbott said the government would carefully consider the findings and recommendations and would provide a preliminary response by the end of the month and a final response delivered by the end of the year.
He said the government's response would focus on ensuring such a catastrophic policy failure never happens again - APN Newsdesk.