THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY
ABC RN DRIVE
WEDNESDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER 2010
SUBJECT: Home Insulation Scheme
HADLEY: I do apologise to the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mr Mark Dreyfus, who is on the line right now. Mark, g’day.
DREYFUS: Morning Ray, how are you going?
HADLEY: Good, I’m sorry to keep you waiting. Now you have been assigned by Greg Combet to look after the insulation, as I understand it?
DREYFUS: That’s right. I’ve actually been working with Greg Combet since February and I am going to continue to work with him in the new role that I’ve been given as Parliamentary Secretary.
HADLEY: Well the reason that I wanted to talk to you – or in your absence Greg – was just to play to you, and I’ll just simply play it to you and then we’ll talk about it, a caller I took earlier this week from Queensland.
DREYFUS: Thanks Ray.
HADLEY: Thank you. We’ll have a listen to what the caller had to say.
CALLER: I thought you might be interested in a little episode of this insulation business that happened to us. I rang up about a month ago for an inspection and I was informed that he’d arrive on Friday, which he did, nice young lad. After he’d done the job, we got talking and they flew him up from Melbourne to Brisbane, hired a car from Brisbane to Hervey Bay and then on to Bundaberg for two, and then he said he was flying back to Melbourne and his next job was in Perth.
HADLEY: Mark, we’ve verified all that with our caller, Graham. He’s in Hervey Bay, in south eastern Queensland. Can you offer some sort of explanation on that? We’ve got to check these places, to make sure that people aren’t being put at risk by shoddy insulation being installed, but it seems a great expense to go up and to check a couple of houses or three houses and then travel back to Melbourne.
DREYFUS: That’s right Ray, it is. But safety is our number one priority. It has been since the started winding down this program. Your caller there is in Hervey Bay. Now, everyone who has asked for a household safety inspection can get one. When a householder has requested a safety inspection in rural and regional areas, they have been slower to be completed than those in metropolitan areas. The simple reason is that in most regional areas, there haven’t been enough inspections asked for, to justify the cost of placing a crew in that area. So we don’t have an inspection crew in every single place in Australia.
HADLEY: But surely you’d have one in Queensland, in South Eastern Queensland, Gold Coast, Brisbane. I mean it’s an expensive exercise, to fly someone from Melbourne, with overnight accommodation and car.
DREYFUS: I agree with that Ray but our other concern has been speed. When a householder has rung up and asked for an inspection, we’ve been concerned about getting them that inspection as soon as it can be arranged and sometimes the next person available, as it were, with the companies that are doing these inspections, happened to be someone in Melbourne. It’s not ideal, but you’ve got to focus on safety, you’ve got to focus on doing it properly.
HADLEY: How many inspections have you done to date, Mark?
DREYFUS: Around 90,000 have been completed to date, Ray.
HADLEY: And how many will you do?
DREYFUS: As Greg Combet said, we’re committed to at least 200,000 inspections. We will make sure that anybody who wants an inspection gets one. What you have to do is ring the safety hotline – 13 17 92 – if anyone wants to get an inspection of their insulation job. And we are scaling up to do more inspections so that they get done quicker.
HADLEY: 13 17 92. The process is that someone comes from Melbourne to Hervey Bay to inspect, what happens if it’s crook, if it’s not done properly, what do they do then?
DREYFUS: We’ve just signed a new contract with the major inspection group, which is UGL Limited, establishing new service standards. That’ll make sure that where a householder requests an inspection, the householder will be contacted within 48 hours to make an appointment for the inspection at a time that’s convenient for the householder. But most importantly, in this new contract, crews will also be able to
rectify most insulation safety issues, as part of the inspection. In other words, when they’re there, when they’re on the job.
HADLEY: What happened previously? They go there, then another crew comes and fixes it, at no cost to the householder; is that how it works?
DREYFUS: That’s right, at no cost. But obviously, it’s better, particularly with a range of minor issues, and most of the issues that have been determined on the inspections are pretty minor, it’s better if you just have it done on the spot.
HADLEY: Okay, now what’s your total budget for – and I call Greg the minister with a mop and bucket, fixing up the problems with his predecessor – what’s the total budget? I know what it is for the whole thing, but what’s the total budget for the clean up?
DREYFUS: Well, the total budget for the clean up is not limited itself. When the program was closed down, there were funds left because, as you’d probably recall on the 19th of February, the program was shut.
HADLEY: Yes, I had a very strong interest in the insulation through much of last year and early this year, Mark, so I know all about it. So it has been, out of the $2.45 billion, there’s enough there, that was left over, so we won’t need to dip in again? Is that what I’m understanding?
DREYFUS: Yes, that’s as I understand it Ray. And certainly, I repeat, safety is our main concern. We are not about to have anyone that wants an inspection not get one. If there are problems that are determined on those inspections, they will be fixed.
HADLEY: Well the thing about it is, I’d be screaming the joint down if Graham’s house burned down and you hadn’t got someone up there. So I suppose I can’t whinge about the fact that they came from Melbourne, I just wish there was someone from south eastern Queensland so we’d save a bit more money and get more
inspections done, but if you tell me you’ve got enough money to do it, you’ve got enough money to do it.
DREYFUS: We do, and we do acknowledge things went wrong Ray, but we are all about fixing it.
HADLEY: Okay, thanks for your time Mark.
DREYFUS: Righto, thanks Ray.