News State Queensland Combet was scheme’s ‘fresh set of eyes’

Combet was scheme’s ‘fresh set of eyes’

Insulation installers at a protest outside Parliament House Canberra
A royal commission into the Rudd government's home insulation scheme will begin tomorrow.
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Former Rudd government minister Greg Combet, who managed the wind-up of the home insulation scheme, will give evidence at the royal commission today.

Mr Combet replaced Peter Garrett as the minister responsible for the scheme, after it was suspended in the wake of a fourth installer death.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd told the royal commission yesterday that the scheme needed a “fresh set of eyes” to review what had occurred and advise on the future.

Mr Combet will be the final former Rudd government politician to testify at the Brisbane hearing.

It will also hear from more relatives of the installers who died on the job.

Mr Rudd concluded his testimony yesterday but has not been excused by the commission, which could still require more evidence from him if newly tendered documents raise more questions.

The former prime minister said he took responsibility for the “deep tragedy” that occurred.

Mr Rudd pointed out the failures of the public service, which he said did not raise any safety issues.

He also said former junior minister Mark Arbib had been asked to stay “abreast of the detail where things could go wrong” with the scheme in 2009.

He said he told Mr Arbib that he needed “to watch this very carefully so that things can be nipped in the bud if there’s a problem”.

However, Mr Rudd said he bore “ultimate responsibility” for the failures.

“As prime minister you accept responsibility for the good and for the bad, for anything that the government does during the period of which I am its prime minister,” he said.

“And for those reasons, as I’ve said repeatedly before, I have accepted ultimate responsibility for what was not just bad, but in this case a deep tragedy.”