News State Queensland Batts probe damning to pollies

Batts probe damning to pollies

Rudd was disappointed not to garner government support. Photo: AAP
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

The inquiry into Labor’s disastrous home insulation program is expected to wind up its Brisbane hearings on Monday.

There are just four more witnesses scheduled to give evidence about the program, which has been linked to the deaths of four installers and hundreds of house fires.

The $20 million royal commission has heard much about time pressures on bureaucrats to roll out the economic stimulus scheme in the wake of the global financial crisis.

The inquiry has also heard of the program’s serious design flaws, the limited training for those working under it, and how it was rorted because there was no way the government could check whether a home had been insulated.

Monday’s witnesses include Master Electricians Australia chief executive Malcolm Richards, who has said his organisation wasn’t consulted on the scheme.

It’s also expected to hear again from the deputy director general of WA’s Department of Premier David Smith.

Mr Smith has already told the inquiry the Rudd government knew, before the program was rolled out, that monitoring safety would prove difficult.

He has said the federal government was warned the states and territories didn’t have the regulatory framework to cope with the volume of insulation installations that would be driven by the program.

“Our existing regulatory regime (in WA) … was not designed to deal with a program the scale of the HIP,” he told the inquiry earlier this month.

“It was an early and consistent message that was provided to me and conveyed to the Commonwealth.”

Matthew Fuller, Rueben Barnes, Mitchell Sweeney and Marcus Wilson lost their lives installing insulation under the program.

Last week, former prime minister Kevin Rudd told the inquiry he accepted ultimate responsibility for the program’s failings, but has used secret cabinet documents to deflect blame onto his ministers and public servants.